Study: Vitamin D may cut seniors' risk of falling in half

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A steady dose of Vitamin D supplemented with calcium for nine months may cut seniors' risk of falling in half, reports a Swiss study in the February issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Dr. Laurent Dukas of the Geriatric University Clinic in Basel and colleagues studied 378 people ages 65 and older for 36 weeks. Half of them took alfacalcidol, a form of vitamin D, and the other half ingested a placebo. The researchers found that people who took alfacalcidol and consumed more than 512 milligrams of calcium per day were 55% less likely to fall than people who were not given alfacalcidol.

People who took vitamin D supplements also experienced a 38% drop in levels of calcium-regulating parathyroid hormone (PTH). Too much PTH, the report says, can cause calcium to leave the bones, making them more susceptible to fracture.

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