Daily vitamin D may drop risk of falls in the elderly

October 7, 2009 in Nutrition for Older Adults, Nutrition Topics in the News, Vitamins, Minerals, Supplements

Daily vitamin D may drop risk of falls in the elderly

A daily dose of 700 to 1000 international units (IU) of vitamin D may cut risk of falling by up to 26 percent, according to new research published in the British Medical Journal.  

In this current report, scientists looked at eight studies which examined vitamin D supplements for fall prevention among more than 2,400 adults aged 65 and older. Two forms of the "sunshine vitamin", the more potent vitamin D3 and the less effective vitamin D2, were included in this analysis.  

In people who supplemented with less than 700 IU per day, falls were not significantly reduced. At the higher dose of 700 to 1000 IU vitamin D, the benefit on fall prevention was significant - at least 19 percent with vitamin D2, and up to 26 percent with vitamin D3, reports the lead researcher.

These findings add weight to several previous studies which show that vitamin D improves strength and balance, and bone health in the elderly.

The Institute of Medicine currently recommends 400 IU per day for adults between age 51 and 70, and 600 IU per day for those aged 70 years and over. This study provides an argument to revise those recommendations.

Since 2007, the Canadian Cancer Society has recommended 1,000 IU of vitamin D a day in fall and winter, and year round for those over 50 or with darker skin.

Supplements are an important source of vitamin D as it's impossible to get the recommended amount from food alone.


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