As the summer continues on, and more of us are gardening, running, and playing in the sun, we tend to get sufficient amounts of Vitamin D. We all know that Vitamin D is good for the body—but did you know it may prevent age-related disabilities?

Older adults who don’t get enough vitamin D – either from diet, supplements or sun exposure – may be at increased risk of developing mobility limitations and disability, according to new research from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

The study, published online this month in the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences, analyzed the association between vitamin D and onset of mobility limitation and disability over six years of follow-up. Mobility limitation and disability are defined as any difficulty or inability to walk several blocks or climb a flight of stairs, respectively.

Of the 3,075 men and women aged 70-79 who were enrolled, all participants reported no difficulty walking one-fourth mile, climbing 10 steps, or performing basic, daily living activities, and were free of life-threatening illness.

“We observed about a 30 percent increased risk of mobility limitations for those older adults who had low levels of vitamin D [in their blood], and almost a two-fold higher risk of mobility disability,” said lead author Denise Houston, Ph.D., R.D., a nutrition epidemiologist in the Wake Forest Baptist Department of Geriatrics and Gerontology.

Houston said vitamin D plays an important role in muscle function, so it is plausible that low levels of the vitamin could result in the onset of decreased lower muscle strength and physical performance. Houston said people get vitamin D when it is naturally produced in the skin by sun exposure, by eating foods with vitamin D, such as fortified milk, juice and cereals, and by taking vitamin D supplements.

It’s difficult to get enough vitamin D through diet alone and for those who may not spend much time outdoors, may need to take a vitamin D supplement. So for this summer, try to get adequate amounts of sun time and consult your Sheddon Physiotherapist about how much time in the sun would be right for you! Call us at (905) 849-4576 or visit our website at

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. (2012, May 31). “Vitamin D Supplementation May Prevent Age-Related Disability.” Medical News Today. Retrieved from: