Does vitamin D reduce the risk of falls in the elderly?

Originally posted in Insidermedicine

Taking a high daily dose of vitamin D can help the elderly reduce their risk of falls, according to research published in the latest issue of the British Medical Journal.

Does vitamin D reduce the risk of falls in the elderly? Here is some information about vitamin D:

• It is a vitamin that is present in very few foods but is necessary for development and maintenance of bone health

• Studies have shown that supplements of vitamin D help improve strength and balance in older individuals

• It is available as a regular supplement and in active form, which is thought to be more potent but is also more expensive and associated with a higher risk of developing excessive levels of calcium in the blood

Researchers from University Hospital Zurich in Switzerland analyzed data collected from eight studies on nearly 2,500 adults aged 65 or older who took regular supplements of vitamin D2 or D3 or an active form of vitamin D3 in an effort to reduce their risk of falls.

Taking at least 700 to 1,000 IU of vitamin D lowered the risk of falling by 19%, and having a blood concentration of vitamin D of at least 60 mmol/L reduced the risk by 23%. Taking lower doses of supplements had no effect. Those who took an active form of vitamin D had a 22% reduced risk of falling, which was considered statistically similar to the effect of regular vitamin D supplements.

Today’s research suggests that the elderly can reduce their risk of falling by taking high doses of vitamin D supplements and indicates there is no need to take the more expensive active form of vitamin D to achieve this benefit.

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