Vitamin D supplements don’t necessarily curb falls risk with the elderly as per the findings of a newly published study in the JAMA Internal Medicine.
MD, Dr.Ph. Heike A. Bischoff-Ferrari with the University Hospital Zurich and her team conducted a study to understand the effects of high-dose vitamin D supplements with the elderly. The research team found that high-dose vitamin D supplements don’t improve the functioning of lower extremities. Furthermore, they may even up falls risk with elderly adults.
The clinical trial included 200 participants, both men and women. All participants were aged 70 or above and had at least one fall during the year previous to the clinical trial. In the randomized trial, half of the participants were administered high doses of vitamin D. The second half followed the recommended guidelines of 800 IU daily.
Overall, the study showed that vitamin D supplements don’t necessarily curb falls risk. Participants who were administered the high-dose vitamin D supplementation didn’t show any improvement in the function of lower extremities. Moreover, the chance that they would suffer a second fall in the following year increased by 65.5 percent.
Vitamin D is commonly used in strengthening muscles and bones, particularly with the elderly. With age, the weakening of bones becomes a problem, making seniors more prone to falling and suffering fractures. Vitamin D is known to help lessen the deterioration process, thus protecting the elderly from falls risk. However, the recommended vitamin D dose remains unclear.
According to the research team, a fine balance needs to be struck. While many of the participants in the study were found to have a vitamin D deficiency, the group who were administered 60,000 IU vitamin D monthly didn’t show any benefits compared to the group who were administered the recommended 24,000 IU monthly.
Lead researcher Bischoff-Ferrari stated that the research team expected results to improve the higher the vitamin D dose was. However, the participants taking the higher vitamin D dose had a 66.5 percent rate of falling during the following year. Of those who stuck to the recommended dosage, only 48 percent suffered falls.
In addition, they also showed increased muscle strength. These findings indicate that lower doses of vitamin D may in fact be more beneficial than high-dose vitamin D supplementation. It is necessary to find that balance and the right dose as lower or higher doses seem to put the elderly at risk.
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