Vitamin D May Cut Elders' Falls
Fewer Falls Seen in Elderly Taking High Vitamin D Dose
WebMD News Archive
Vitamin D Supplements
Participants were randomly assigned to take vitamin D or an empty pill
(placebo) for five months.
Those taking vitamin D were given one of four daily doses: 200 international
units (IU), 400 IU, 600 IU, or 800 IU.
No one knew what dose they were taking, or whether they were taking the
Participants were allowed to keep taking multivitamins during the study, if
they wanted to, but the researchers didn't supply anyone with
Currently, the Institute of Medicine says 600 IU of vitamin D per day is
"adequate" for men and women 71 or older.
The nursing home was required to keep records of residents' falls. During
the five-month study, 61 participants (59%) suffered falls.
The group taking 800 IU of vitamin D daily was the only one to show a
reduced fall risk. They were 72% less likely to fall during the study period
than those taking the placebo.
None of the other vitamin D doses were associated with reduced falls.
These results held when the researchers took age, BMI (body mass index), and
other factors into account.
People can fall for many reasons; and it's not certain vitamin D was the
sole reason for the drop in falls for residents taking 800 IU of vitamin D
While the data doesn't show how much vitamin D participants got from their
diet or sunshine, intake from those sources was probably "minimal,"
write the researchers.
Too Much of a Good Thing?
Vitamin D is one vitamin you shouldn't overdo. The body stores vitamin D in
fat, and it can be unhealthy to let too much of the vitamin build up in the
The tolerable upper limit for daily vitamin D intake is 2,000 IU for adults
19 and older, according to Institute of Medicine standards.
Sunshine and diet are much less likely to cause excessive vitamin D levels
than supplements, unless you're consuming lots of cod liver oil, according to
the Office of Dietary Supplements, part of the National Institutes of
None of the nursing home residents had excessive vitamin D levels during the