Vitamin D Linked to Fewer Falls in Seniors

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Homebound elderly might benefit from supplementation, research suggests.
Homebound elderly might benefit from supplementation, research suggests.

(HealthDay News) -- Delivering vitamin D supplements to homebound seniors might help lower their risk of falls, according to a study published online in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Denise Houston, Ph.D., associate professor of gerontology and geriatric medicine at the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C., and colleagues arranged to have vitamin D supplements delivered to Meals on Wheels clients. Over 5 months, 68 homebound seniors received either a monthly vitamin D supplement of 100,000 international units or a placebo with their Meals on Wheels prepared-food deliveries.

At the start of the study, more than half of the seniors had insufficient vitamin D levels, and fewer than one-quarter had optimal levels. The supplements increased vitamin D from insufficient to sufficient levels in all but 1 senior who received the supplements, and to optimal levels in all but 5. Also, seniors who received the vitamin D supplements reported about half the falls as those in the placebo group.

"Although these initial findings are encouraging, we need to confirm the results in a larger trial," Houston said in a Wake Forest news release. Every year, about one-third of seniors who live at home suffer falls, and about 1 in 10 falls result in serious injury, the researchers say.


  1. Houston, DK; Tooze, JA; Demons, JL; et al. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, August 16, 2015; doi: 10.1111/jgs.13610.
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