Falls prevention for older people: vitamin D, calcium or both?

Asian Journal of Gerontology and Geriatrics 01/2012; 6(6):107-9.

ABSTRACT Falls and fall-related fractures increase with age and affect skeletal and muscle health negatively. Insufficient vitamin D and calcium intake is a contributing factor to fall-related fractures in older people (aged ≥65 years). The use of vitamin D and calcium supplements by the general public has increased, especially among older people in nursing homes, under long-term care, or with prolonged hospitalisation. However, there is controversy regarding the actual clinical benefits of taking vitamin D with and without calcium. This article reviews the current evidence on the use of vitamin D supplements with and without calcium in older people, as a means of reducing falls and related fractures.

Download full-text


Available from: Lawrence Leung, Sep 26, 2015
202 Reads
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Vitamin D supplements have been used to prevent fractures. The effect may be mediated through increased bone mass, but also through reduced falling propensity. The aim of this study was to evaluate the association between 25-hydroxy vitamin D levels (25OHD), fall-associated variables (including tests of functional performance), and fracture in ambulatory women. At baseline 25OHD was measured in 986 women. Fall-associated variables were investigated at baseline. Fractures were recorded during a 3-year follow-up. Four percent of the women had 25OHD levels below 20 ng/ml (50 nmol/l), and 26% had 25OHD levels below 30 ng/ml (75 nmol/l). 25OHD correlated with gait speed (r =0.17, P <0.001), the Romberg balance test (r =0.14, P <0.001), self-estimated activity level (r =0.15, P <0.001), and thigh muscle strength (r =0.08, P =0.02). During the 3-year follow-up, 119 out of the 986 women sustained at least one fracture. The Cox proportional hazard ratio (HR) (95% confidence interval) for sustaining a fracture during the follow-up was 2.04 (1.04-4.04) for the group of women with 25OHD below 20 ng/ml, in which 9 out of 43 women sustained a fracture. Thirty-two of the 256 women with 25OHD levels below 30 ng/ml sustained a fracture during the follow-up, with a non-significant HR of 1.07 (1.07-1.61). This cohort of elderly, ambulatory women had a high mean 25OHD. A low 25OHD was associated with inferior physical activity level, gait speed and balance. A 25OHD level below 30 ng/ml was not associated with an increased risk of fractures in this study. However, a subgroup of women with 25OHD levels below 20 ng/ml had a tendency to an increased risk of fractures, which may be associated with an inferior physical activity and postural stability.
    Osteoporosis International 11/2005; 16(11):1425-31. DOI:10.1007/s00198-005-1860-1 · 4.17 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Vitamin D deficiency is common among older people and can cause mineralization defects, bone loss, and muscle weakness. The aim of this study was to investigate the association of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-OHD) concentration with current physical performance and its decline over 3 yr among elderly. The study consisted of a cross-sectional and longitudinal design (3-yr follow-up) within the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam. An age- and sex-stratified random sample of the Dutch older population was used. Subjects included 1234 men and women (aged 65 yr and older) for cross-sectional analysis and 979 (79%) persons for longitudinal analysis. Physical performance (sum score of the walking test, chair stands, and tandem stand) and decline in physical performance were measured. Serum 25-OHD was associated with physical performance after adjustment for age, gender, chronic diseases, degree of urbanization, body mass index, and alcohol consumption. Compared with individuals with serum 25-OHD levels above 30 ng/ml, physical performance was poorer in participants with serum 25-OHD less than 10 ng/ml [regression coefficient (B) = -1.69; 95% confidence interval (CI) = -2.28; -1.10], and with serum 25-OHD of 10-20 ng/ml (B = -0.46; 95% CI = -0.90; -0.03). After adjustment for confounding variables, participants with 25-OHD less than 10 ng/ml and 25-OHD between 10 and 20 ng/ml had significantly higher odds ratios (OR) for 3-yr decline in physical performance (OR = 2.21; 95% CI = 1.00-4.87; and OR = 2.01; 95% CI = 1.06-3.81), compared with participants with 25-OHD of at least 30 ng/ml. The results were consistent for each individual performance test. Serum 25-OHD concentrations below 20 ng/ml are associated with poorer physical performance and a greater decline in physical performance in older men and women. Because almost 50% of the population had serum 25-OHD below 20 ng/ml, public health strategies should be aimed at this group.
    Journal of Clinical Endocrinology &amp Metabolism 07/2007; 92(6):2058-65. DOI:10.1210/jc.2006-1525 · 6.21 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Our objective was to determine international estimates of the economic burden of falls in older people living in the community. Our systematic review emphasized the need for a consensus on methodology for cost of falls studies to enable more accurate comparisons and subgroup-specific estimates among different countries. The purpose of this study was to determine international estimates of the economic burden of falls in older people living in the community. This is a systematic review of peer-reviewed journal articles reporting estimates for the cost of falls in people aged > or =60 years living in the community. We searched for papers published between 1945 and December 2008 in MEDLINE, PUBMED, EMBASE, CINAHL, Cochrane Collaboration, and NHS EED databases that identified cost of falls in older adults. We extracted the cost of falls in the reported currency and converted them to US dollars at 2008 prices, cost items measured, perspective, time horizon, and sensitivity analysis. We assessed the quality of the studies using a selection of questions from Drummond's checklist. Seventeen studies met our inclusion criteria. Studies varied with respect to viewpoint of the analysis, definition of falls, identification of important and relevant cost items, and time horizon. Only two studies reported a sensitivity analysis and only four studies identified the viewpoint of their economic analysis. In the USA, non-fatal and fatal falls cost US $23.3 billion (2008 prices) annually and US $1.6 billion in the UK. The economic cost of falls is likely greater than policy makers appreciate. The mean cost of falls was dependent on the denominator used and ranged from US $3,476 per faller to US $10,749 per injurious fall and US $26,483 per fall requiring hospitalization. A consensus on methodology for cost of falls studies would enable more accurate comparisons and subgroup-specific estimates among different countries.
    Osteoporosis International 02/2010; 21(8):1295-306. DOI:10.1007/s00198-009-1162-0 · 4.17 Impact Factor
Show more