Vitamin d helps prevent falls seniors

By Sheryl Kay • Published: February 26th, 2010
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Nobody likes to fall, especially senior citizens.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls are the number one cause of injury-related deaths for seniors, as well as the most common cause of nonfatal injuries and hospital trauma admissions. But new research shows one very simple preventive step.

In a recent meta-analysis published in the British Medical Journal, findings showed that taking elevated levels of vitamin D reduces the risk of falling by about twenty percent among senior citizens.

The study involved reviewing research data from more than twenty-four hundred individuals age sixty-five and older who took varying doses of vitamin D, or placebos. Eight trials were included, and the doses varied from two hundred to one thousand international units per day.

The resulting examination showed that a lower incidence of falling was only seen in people who took at least seven hundred international units per day, while taking smaller doses did not appear to help.

The researchers noted that vitamin D has an effect on muscle strength, and robust muscles could mean less likelihood of falling. And although they did not test for it in this study, they did not rule out the possibility that higher doses of vitamin D supplementation might be even more effective.

Still, the investigators pointed out that too much vitamin D can have several negative side effects, including nausea, constipation and kidney stones. The key? Seniors should consult with their doctors to determine just how much vitamin D to take. Because when it comes to preventing falls, everyone should strive for the right balance.