Vitamin D May Help Reduce Falls Among Older Adults

First Posted: Aug 18, 2015 08:27 PM EDT

Vitamin D has been known for its health benefits. Yet did you know that it could also be particularly helpful for older adults, helping them maintain muscle integrity and strength?

New findings published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society reveals that while close to one in three older adults are living at home, approximately one in 10 will fall, resulting in a serious injury.

In this recent study, researchers analyzed data from about 68 people who received either a monthly vitamin D supplement of 100,000 international units or a placebo that was delivered via their Meals-on-Wheels meal.

Researchers analyzed information regarding participants' history of falls, as well as their fear of falling, via a monthly diary recording falls during the trial period, and blood tests that measured marks of vitamin D, including 25-hydroxyvitamin D.

Researchers discovered that over half of the participants had insufficient concentrations of vitamin D in their blood, while less than a quarter had concentrations in the optimal range. Furthermore, they discovered that the monthly vitamin D supplement was effective in increasing the concentrations of vitamin D in the blood via insufficient to sufficient levels in all but one of the 34 people who received it, as well as optimal levels in all but five people. Lastly, those who received vitamin D reported half the falls when compared to those in the control group.

"Falls in homebound older people often lead to disability and placement in a nursing home," Denise Houston, lead author of the study and an associate professor of gerontology and geriatric medicine at Wake Forest Baptist, said in a statement. "One or our aging center's goals is to help people maintain their independence and live safely at home for as long as possible."

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