Fall risk increases with higher doses of Vitamin D

Higher monthly doses of Vitamin D may increase the risk of falls in seniors despite previous research indicating its benefits, a new study has found.

Previous studies suggested Vitamin D supplementation may help improve function in lower extremities, and combat muscle weakness that can lead to falls. But in a study published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers from University Hospital in Zurich, Switzerland found increasing Vitamin D dosage did little to improve function in a group of 200 seniors over age 70.

Instead, 60.5% seniors who received a high dose of Vitamin D experienced a fall during the 12-month treatment period, compared to 47.9% of those put into a low-dose group.

Those results show a possible ideal “window” of Vitamin D dosage; high enough to prevent bone and muscle weakness but low enough where fall risk isn't affected. Researchers suggest the increased fall risk may be due to increased mobility and activity in seniors who already take enough Vitamin D to have better lower extremity function.

Researchers suggest that seniors adhere to the Institute of Medicine's recommendations on Vitamin D intake, which states that people over 70 should take a total of 800 IU of Vitamin D per day, in order to avoid the “deleterious effect” of overdosage.