Bone FractureCalciumElderlyVitamin D

Does vitamin D reduce the risk of falls in older adults?

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, in Baltimore, Maryland reviewed the evidence.

First, the details.

  • Of 1,679 potentially relevant articles, 10 met the inclusion criteria.
  • Participants included older adults who were studied to investigated the effectiveness of vitamin D therapy to prevent falls where “falls” were explicitly defined.

And, the results.

  • There was modest benefit.
    • Vitamin D therapy (200 to 1,000 IU) resulted in 14% fewer falls than calcium or placebo.
    • The number of people to be treated for 1 to experience this benefit was 15.
  • Groups of seniors with significantly fewer falls included the following:
    • Community-dwelling senior younger than 80 years.
    • Taking calcium supplementation in addition to vitamin D.
    • No history of fractures or falls
    • Duration of treatment longer than 6 months
    • Taking cholecalciferol (vitamin D3)
    • Vitamin D dose of 800 IU or greater
  • There was no relationship between increasing the dose of vitamin D and increased protection from falls.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded; “vitamin D supplementation is an effective strategy for reducing falls in older adults and should probably be incorporated into the clinical practice of providers caring for older adults, especially those at risk for falling.”

The results are important because in addition to improving quality of life, it’s cost effective to reduce falls among the elderly.

The complete article is here.

10/5/10 21:05 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.