Vitamin D to reduce the risk of falls in nursing home residents

Factors that place nursing home residents at high risk of falling are intuitive (eg, wandering behavior, use of a cane or walker, deterioration in daily activities). A history of falls is the strongest risk factor.

Might vitamin D supplementation reduce this risk?

If the dose is high enough, the answer is yes, according to this study.

  • 124 nursing home residents (average age 89) receive one of four vitamin D supplement doses (200, 400, 600, or 800 International Units [IUs]) or placebo daily for 5 months.
  • Those taking 800 IU had a significant 72% lower rate of falls vs placebo over the 5 months.
  • The other doses had no effect.

Recommended daily doses of vitamin D are summarized here.

A concise review of falls in nursing homes is presented here. Dr. Heike Bischoff-Ferrari from the Institute of Physical Medicine in Zurich, Switzerland presents a thorough review of the effect of vitamin D on falls here.

3/2/07 19:22 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.