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Vitamin D and Aging: What’s the Latest Research?

Someone holding two vitamins out in the palm of their hand.
Credit: Kateryna Hliznitsova / Unsplash.
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The many benefits of vitamin D are causing this nutrient to take center stage in vitamin research. Renowned for its role in bone health, emerging research also highlights vitamin D's physiological effects on human health, including aging.

Vitamin D plays a pivotal role in regulating calcium absorption, while also contributing to immune function and overall well-being. A daily intake of 15 µg is recommended for those aged 1–70 years old by the National Institutes of Health, which can be obtained through sun exposure, certain foods and supplementation.

Aging is a complex, multifaceted process that entails a gradual decline in organ function and an elevated risk of age-related ailments and mortality. Researchers investigating aging are concerned with how we can slow down this process and prevent age-related diseases, such as atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer's disease.


Aging is associated with a higher likelihood of vitamin D deficiency and dysregulated vitamin D function, which may result from a decrease in vitamin D receptor expression and altered expression of vitamin D metabolic enzymes. Factors such as nutrition and limited sunlight exposure may also elevate the risk of deficiency in elderly population. Consequently, many scientists are exploring whether vitamin D could help lead to healthier aging.

Vitamin D and the hallmarks of aging

A review article, recently published in Nutrients, looked at the effects of vitamin D on the hallmarks of aging, a set of biological mechanisms that are finely regulated and contribute to biological changes associated with several age-related diseases.1 The researchers conducted a comprehensive search of PubMed and Embase using keywords related to vitamin D and the 12 hallmarks of aging from the past 10 years.


Ruggiero et al. found evidence that vitamin D may influence various aspects of aging, including DNA integrity, cellular senescence and immune modulation. While vitamin D supplementation showed promise in addressing certain hallmarks, such as dysbiosis and microbial balance, further research is needed to fully understand its effects and clinical implications on aging processes and age-related diseases.

The protective role of the vitamin D/vitamin D receptor pathway

A recent study published in Aging investigated the role of vitamin D in the aging process of intestinal epithelial cells differentiated enterocytes (ECs) in a Drosophila intestine model. 2 The researchers used fruit fly models with specific gene knockdowns for the vitamin D receptor (VDR), and applied immunostaining to study the role of VDR on the cell cycle, including PH3 a specific biomarker for proliferating cells that stains cells in late G2 and mitosis.


Knockdown of VDR in ECs led to increased intestinal stem cell (ISC) proliferation and DNA damage accumulation, EC death, ISC aging and enteroendocrine cell differentiation. Vitamin D treatment also reduced age- and oxidative stress-induced ISC proliferation.

Their findings suggest a direct anti-aging effect of the vitamin D/VDR pathway in protecting ECs during aging in Drosophila, providing insights into potential mechanisms underlying healthy aging.

Vitamin D deficiency and young-onset dementia

A study published in JAMA Neurology investigated several risk factors of young-onset dementia, affecting those under 65.3 The study used data from over 350,000 participants in the UK, taken from the UK BioBank.

The researchers looked at 39 potential risk factors using the multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression model, which is a multivariate approach for analyzing survival time data in medical research, to assess the links between the risk factors and incidence of young-onset dementia. They Identified 15 risk factors that were associated with a high risk of young-onset dementia, including vitamin D deficiency.

"The cause is often assumed to be genetic, but for many people we don't actually know exactly what the cause is. This is why we also wanted to investigate other risk factors in this study," said lead author Dr. Stevie Hendriks, a researcher at Maastricht University.

While the protective effects of vitamin D on hallmarks of aging and age-related conditions are becoming increasingly evident, further investigation is crucial to fully comprehend its therapeutic potential.


  1. Ruggiero C, Tafaro L, Cianferotti L, et al. Targeting the hallmarks of aging with vitamin d: starting to decode the myth. Nutrients. 2024;16(6):906. doi: 10.3390/nu16060906
  2. Park JS, Na HJ, Kim YJ. The anti-aging effect of vitamin D and vitamin D receptor in Drosophila midgut. Aging. 2024. doi: 10.18632/aging.205518
  3. Hendriks S, Ranson JM, Peetoom K, et al. Risk factors for young-onset dementia in the UK Biobank. JAMA Neurol. 2024;81(2):134. doi: 10.1001/jamaneurol.2023.4929