Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Vitamin D supplements have little effect on risk of falls in older people

Date:
April 23, 2014
Source:
The Lancet
Summary:
A new meta-analysis concludes that there is no evidence to suggest that vitamin D supplements prevent falls, and that ongoing trials to test this theory are unlikely to change this result. Falls can be devastating for older people, and strategies to reduce fall risk are urgently needed as the global population ages. The results of trials that have investigated the ability of vitamin D to prevent falls -- and those of previous meta-analyses -- have been mixed. It is unclear how vitamin D supplements might prevent falls but, until now.

A new meta-analysis, published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology journal, concludes that there is no evidence to suggest that vitamin D supplements prevent falls, and that ongoing trials to test this theory are unlikely to change this result.

The study, by Dr Mark Bolland of the University of Auckland, New Zealand, and colleagues, analyzed findings from 20 randomized controlled trials which tested the potential of vitamin D supplements to reduce falls, in a total of 29535 people. The findings show that supplements do not reduce falls by 15% or more, meaning that the amount that vitamin D supplementation reduces fall risk at a population level is very low.

Falls can be devastating for older people, and strategies to reduce fall risk are urgently needed as the global population ages. The results of trials that have investigated the ability of vitamin D to prevent falls -- and those of previous meta-analyses -- have been mixed. It is unclear how vitamin D supplements might prevent falls but, until now, there has been enough positive evidence to support its recommendation by some health organizations.

Bolland and colleagues' findings add to those of previous meta-analyses by also applying trial sequential analysis, which predicts the potential of future trials with a similar design to sway existing evidence. Their results suggest that trials in progress are unlikely to overturn the finding that vitamin D supplements do not appreciably reduce falls, and they conclude that there is insufficient evidence to support prescribing vitamin D to reduce falls.

However, the authors report that existing evidence does not show whether vitamin D might reduce falls in particularly vulnerable older people -- ie, those who fall often. This is because most clinical trials report only the total number of falls in the study population, rather than the number of falls per person in the study.

According to Clifford Rosen of Maine Medical Research Institute, Scarborough, USA, and Christine Taylor of the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, USA, both authors of a Comment linked to the study, "Whether a large trial is feasible in this vulnerable population remains to be established. Until then, we are left with uncertainty about the benefits of vitamin D supplementation for reduction in fall risk, particularly among vulnerable older people."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by The Lancet. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Mark J Bolland, Andrew Grey, Greg D Gamble, Ian R Reid. Vitamin D supplementation and falls: a trial sequential meta-analysis. The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, 2014; DOI: 10.1016/S2213-8587(14)70068-3

Cite This Page:

The Lancet. "Vitamin D supplements have little effect on risk of falls in older people." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140423221226.htm>.
The Lancet. (2014, April 23). Vitamin D supplements have little effect on risk of falls in older people. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140423221226.htm
The Lancet. "Vitamin D supplements have little effect on risk of falls in older people." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140423221226.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

AP (July 28, 2014) A bipartisan deal to improve veterans health care would authorize at least $15 billion in emergency spending to fix a veterans program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
West Africa Gripped by Deadly Ebola Outbreak

West Africa Gripped by Deadly Ebola Outbreak

AFP (July 28, 2014) The worst-ever outbreak of the deadly Ebola epidemic grips west Africa, killing hundreds. Duration: 00:48 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins