Daily Vitamin D May Help Prevent Nursing Home Falls

Risk of falling lower with 800 IU of vitamin D compared with placebo

FRIDAY, Feb. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Elderly nursing home residents may be less likely to fall if they take 800 International Units of vitamin D a day, according to a report in the February issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Kerry E. Broe, M.P.H., of the Institute for Aging Research in Roslindale, Mass., and colleagues compared the numbers of falls in 124 nursing home residents (average age 89) who were randomly assigned to 800, 600, 400 or 200 IU of vitamin D daily or placebo for five months.

Twenty percent of those taking 800 IU of vitamin D fell during the study period, compared with 44 percent of patients in the placebo group, 58 percent of those taking 200 IU, and 60 percent of those taking 600 or 400 IU daily.

"Nursing home residents in the highest vitamin D group (800 IU) had a lower number of fallers and a lower incidence rate of falls over five months than those taking lower doses," the authors write. "Adequate vitamin D supplementation in elderly nursing home residents could reduce the number of falls experienced by this high falls risk group."

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