Vitamin D in physiological and pathological aging: Lesson from centenarians

Evelyn Ferri, Martina Casati, Matteo Cesari, Giovanni Vitale, Beatrice Arosio

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Vitamin D is a secosteroid hormone that exerts a pleiotropic action on a wide spectrum of tissues, apparatuses and systems. Thus, vitamin D has assumed an increasingly dominant role as a key determinant of biological mechanisms and specific clinical conditions. Older people frequently present vitamin D deficiency, a status potentially influencing several mechanisms responsible for different age-related diseases. Centenarians symbolize the ideal model for investigating the peculiar traits of longevity, as they have reached an age close to the estimated limit of the human lifespan. Interestingly, despite the profound heterogeneity of centenarians in terms of health status, all these people share the same condition of severe vitamin D deficiency, suggesting that they may have implemented a number of adaptive strategies to cope with the age-related physiological derangement of vitamin D metabolism. The lesson deriving from centenarians’ experience suggests that: i) severe vitamin D deficiency does not preclude the possibility of reaching extreme longevity, ii) strategies to prevent hypovitaminosis D may be useful to slow down the processes of “fragilization” occurring in aged people, iii) beneficial effects of vitamin D supplementation need to be confirmed regarding longevity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-282
JournalReviews in Endocrine and Metabolic Disorders
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Aging
  • Centenarians
  • GeroScience
  • Longevity
  • Vitamin D

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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