Does Vitamin D Affect Neuromuscular Function in Older Adults?
Adults older than age 65 may face age related changes that put them at a higher risk to fall which can lead to life-threatening injuries. Changes such as sarcopenia (age-related skeletal muscle weakness) and changes in balance can all be related to vitamin D deficiency. One recent study of nursing home residents found that 79% to 98% of nursing home residents were vitamin D deficient (Marlous Toren-Wielema, et al., 2018). Vitamin D deficiency is not only prevalent in nursing home residents, but in other older adult populations as well. The purpose of this Evidence Based Practice Brief is to explore the association of vitamin D supplementation and the effects on muscle function in older adults who have vitamin D deficiency, and how this could affect their risk for falls. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends vitamin D supplementation in older adults to improve bone, muscle, and nerve heath to reduce the risk for falls. According to the World Health Organization, “an estimated 646,000 fatal falls occur each year, making it the second leading cause of unintentional injury death” (2018). Using the information from this Evidence Based Practice Brief, nurses will be able to educate patients on the effects of neuromuscular function that could improve safety.