Vitamin D supplementation at high doses is effective in preventing fractures in the elderly, analysis shows

Share this content:
Daily vitamin D supplementation is effective in preventing fractures in the elderly, but only if taken in higher doses, a new study finds.

In their analysis, Tufts University researchers studied data from 11 randomized trials — which had a total of more than 31,000 older adults — investigating vitamin D supplementation and fractures. Then, they divided participants into quartiles ranging from 0 to 2,000 International Units (IUs) of daily vitamin D intake, and performed a meta-analysis.

"Taking between 800 IUs and 2,000 IUs of vitamin D per day significantly reduced the risk of most fractures, including hip, wrist and forearm in both men and women age 65 and older," Tufts University researcher Bess Dawson-Hughes, M.D. “Importantly, we saw there was no benefit to taking vitamin D supplements in doses below 800 IUs per day for fracture prevention."

Existing Institute of Medicine guidelines recommend that adults between 51 and 70 take 600 vitamin D IUs per day, and that adults over 70 take 800 IUs per day.

The study was published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine.