There seems to be even more recent conflicting studies regarding the effect of vitamin D on bone mineral density than there are Republican presidential candidates. And, the results are just as unlikely to harmonize. The latest research, a small pilot study, found that vitamin D supplements may significantly reduce falls among elderly people living at home. It was published in the early online edition of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society and noted on sciencedaily.com.
Researchers from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center working on the five-month long, single-blind, randomized trial recruited 68 elderly clients of a Meals-on-Wheels program in North Carolina. At the beginning of this pilot study, the research team found that more than half of the participants had insufficient concentrations of vitamin D in their blood (less than 20 ng/ml), while less than a quarter had concentrations in the optimal range (30 ng/ml or more). The subjects received either a placebo, or a monthly vitamin D supplement of 100,000 iu delivered with their meals.
Vitamin D levels went up. And seniors didn’t fall down—at least as often. People in the vitamin D group reported approximately half the falls of those in the control group.
Every year falls affect approximately one in three older adults living at home, with approximately one in 10 falls resulting in serious injury, according to a university release about the study. Even if an injury does not occur, the fear of falling can lead to reduced activity and a loss of independence.