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Vitamin D Tied to Fewer Falls in Homebound Seniors

Homebound elderly might benefit from supplementation, research suggests

FRIDAY, Aug. 21, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Delivering vitamin D supplements to homebound seniors might help lower their risk of falls, according to a study published online Aug. 16 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Denise Houston, Ph.D., associate professor of gerontology and geriatric medicine at the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C., and colleagues arranged to have vitamin D supplements delivered to Meals on Wheels clients. Over five months, 68 homebound seniors received either a monthly vitamin D supplement of 100,000 international units or a placebo with their Meals on Wheels prepared-food deliveries.

At the start of the study, more than half of the seniors had insufficient vitamin D levels, and fewer than one-quarter had optimal levels. The supplements increased vitamin D from insufficient to sufficient levels in all but one senior who received the supplements, and to optimal levels in all but five. Also, seniors who received the vitamin D supplements reported about half the falls as those in the placebo group.

“Although these initial findings are encouraging, we need to confirm the results in a larger trial,” Houston said in a Wake Forest news release. Every year, about one-third of seniors who live at home suffer falls, and about one in 10 falls result in serious injury, the researchers say.

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