Vitamin D as a biomarker of ill health among the over-50s: A systematic review of cohort studies

Silvia Caristia, Nicoletta Filigheddu, Francesco Barone-Adesi, Andrea Sarro, Tommaso Testa, Corrado Magnani, Gianluca Aimaretti, Fabrizio Faggiano, Paolo Marzullo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: The association between circulating levels of vitamin D and the incidence of chronic diseases is known. The identification of vitamin D as a biomarker of physiological/pathological ageing could contribute to expanding current knowledge of its involvement in healthy ageing. Methods: According to PRISMA guidelines, a systematic review was conducted on cohorts studying the role of 25OH-Vitamin D [25(OH)D] and 1,25(OH)2-Vitamin D [1,25(OH)2D] concentrations as biomarkers of healthy ageing. We consulted MedLine, Scopus, and Web of Science to search for studies on the association between vitamin D status in populations of originally healthy adults, and outcomes of longevity, illness, and physical and cognitive functionality. The quality of the studies was assessed using the Newcastle Ottawa scale. Results: Twenty cohorts from 24 articles were selected for this review. Inverse associations were found between low 25(OH)D levels and all-cause mortality, respiratory and cardiovascular events, as well as markers relating to hip and non-vertebral fractures. Associations between 1,25(OH)2D and healthy ageing outcomes gave similar results, although of lower clinical significance. Conclusions: This systematic review pinpoints peculiar aspects of vitamin D as a multidimensional predictor of ill health in the ageing process. Further well-designed controlled trials to investigate whether vitamin D supplement results in superior outcomes are warranted in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2384
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019


  • Cohorts
  • Healthy ageing
  • Vitamin D

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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