Weight loss -Vitamin D May Reduce Risk of Falling in Elderly Women


Vitamin D May Reduce Risk of Falling in Elderly Women

For many years, the supplements Calcium and Vitamin D have been linked with strong bones and preventing osteoporosis. Now, new research suggests that not only can these supplements help keep bones strong, women over the age of 65 may be able to cut their risk of falling almost in half by taking a Vitamin D supplement.

Vitamin D is the only vitamin the body manufactures naturally, through exposure to sunshine, and is technically considered a hormone. It is essential for building strong bones and teeth, and also helps to strengthen the immune system and may prevent some types of cancer. Deficiencies of Vitamin D can increase the risk of broken bones, particularly in the elderly, because it helps calcium be absorbed by the body, and helps the body maintain strong bones.

The study on Vitamin D and falls in the elderly follows a similar study from a couple of years ago, which reported that in the short term, Vitamin D could reduce the risk of falling at least one time by 20 percent. This study lasted three years, and involved 199 men and 246 women who did not live in a care facility. The volunteers received either a placebo, or supplements of 700 IU Vitamin D plus 500 mg of calcium, and they were separated into categories of “active” and “not active” physical mobility. The volunteers then reported the number of falls to the researchers. After three years, the men in the study had no difference in their risk of falling, but the researchers observed that long-term supplementation with Vitamin D and Calcium reduces the odds of falling in active older women by 46 percent, and in non-active women the supplements reduce the odds of falling by 65 percent. The researchers did not suggest reasons why Vitamin D and Calcium supplements may reduce the risk of falling in the elderly, but say that the study should lead to more research.

How do you know if you are at risk of low Vitamin D? Anyone who can't get out in the sun may need a Vitamin D supplement, but where sunshine levels are weaker (such as in the northeastern United States) Vitamin D deficiency is higher. Unfortunately, the body's ability to manufacture vitamin D appears to decline with age, so older adults may need to get more Vitamin D through diet or supplements, whether they're exposed to sunlight or not. People with dark skin and those who use sunblock frequently are also at risk for too little Vitamin D, because both sunblock and the dark pigment of skin interrupts the sun’s ability to penetrate the skin and the body cannot produce Vitamin D.

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