Tuesday, January 05, 2016

High doses of vitamin D may hurt seniors instead of help

High doses of vitamin D are bad for most people.


By Ashley Welch CBS News January 5, 2016

Vitamin D is linked to a number of health benefits, including strengthening bones and teeth and a lower risk of developing health conditions like diabetes and certain cancers. It is also is thought to have protective benefits against cognitive decline in older adults.

But a new study suggests when it comes to vitamin D, too much can be a bad thing.

According to the research, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, higher monthly doses of vitamin D offer no benefits when it comes to lower extremity functioning and muscle strength in adults over the age of 70. What's more, higher doses also led to an increased risk of falling in these seniors.

Falls are the leading cause of injury among older adults and can set off a downward spiral of health problems and loss of independence.


The authors noted several limitations to the study, including that findings may not apply to younger seniors or to individuals with more limited cognitive or functional abilities. There was also no placebo group. "Therefore, our trial supports low-dose over high-dose vitamin D supplementation but cannot establish a benefit of low dose over placebo," the authors wrote.

In an accompanying editorial, another group of researchers pointed out that in fact, no randomized clinical trials -- considered the gold standard of research -- have definitively shown the benefits of vitamin D supplements in preventing falls and fractures.

Until that happens, experts suggest that it is prudent to follow recommendations from IOM that people 70 years or older have a total daily intake of 800 IU of vitamin D, preferably from a balanced diet, or if needed, with the help of supplements.

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