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No Effect of Vitamin D Supplements for Fall Risk — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
April 24, 2014

No Effect of Vitamin D Supplements for Fall Risk

By Kelly Young

Vitamin D supplementation does not appear to reduce the risk for falls in older adults, a trial sequential analysis in the Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology finds. This is contrary to guidance from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

Nearly 30,000 older adults participated in 20 randomized trials that looked at the effect of vitamin D supplementation — with or without calcium — on the risk for falls. Vitamin D supplementation did not reduce the incidence of falls by 15% or more (the prespecified threshold for clinical relevance). Calcium also had no effect.

The authors write that there is "little justification" for using vitamin D for fall prevention. Commentators conclude that until a large trial is conducted among adults who are particularly vulnerable to falls, "we are left with uncertainty about the benefits of vitamin D supplementation for reduction in fall risk."

Reader Comments (3)

mark richards md Physician, Unspecified

Why would all these resources be wasted on testing a vitamin for fall prevention when they should have tested a deficient hormone of all aged men and women that has been shown to improve visual-motor and visual-spatial functioning!

Preliminary studies already showed that men on testosterone therapy had a 70% reduction in nursing home falls. I predict the same will be shown in women since they have the identical corporal physiology and nervous system.

As usual, I am flabbergasted by the lack of focus on likely high value topics in health research.

CAROL VASSAR Physician, Internal Medicine, private practice

In answer to Dr. Fouda's question, the level at which Vitamin D is recommended depends on who you ask. IOM says 20 not <30.

Since prevention of fractures rather than falls is the major reason for encouraging or prescribing Vitamin D3 supplementation, can you remind us of the benefit as indicated by randomized controlled trials for using Vitamin D3 to prevent fractures, both when bisphosphonates are being taken and when they are not.

sanaa fouda Fellow-In-Training, Endocrinology, egypt-private clinic

Is this study includes those with vit D deficiency(<30 ng\ml)?
Can high level of serum Vit D (>50-100ng\ml) imposes higher risk on bone fracture?
At what Vit D level we should start treatment with VitD\Ca?

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