Fall prevention and vitamin D in the elderly: an overview of the key role of the non-bone effects.

Department of Internal Medicine and Geriatrics, Angers University Hospital, Angers University Memory Center, UPRES EA 2646, University of Angers, UNAM, Angers, France.
Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation (Impact Factor: 2.62). 10/2010; 7:50. DOI: 10.1186/1743-0003-7-50
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Preventing falls and fall-related fractures in the elderly is an objective yet to be reached. There is increasing evidence that a supplementation of vitamin D and/or of calcium may reduce the fall and fracture rates. A vitamin D-calcium supplement appears to have a high potential due to its simple application and its low cost. However, published studies have shown conflicting results as some studies failed to show any effect, while others reported a significant decrease of falls and fractures. Through a 15-year literature overview, and after a brief reminder on mechanism of falls in older adults, we reported evidences for a vitamin D action on postural adaptations - i.e., muscles and central nervous system - which may explain the decreased fall and bone fracture rates and we underlined the reasons for differences and controversies between published data. Vitamin D supplementation should thus be integrated into primary and secondary fall prevention strategies in older adults.

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    ABSTRACT: Calcium is an important mineral in human health, adequate intake is associated with higher bone mineral density, reduced risks of osteoporosis, fractures and falls among the elderly. This study assessed the adequacy of calcium intake and relationship with incidences of bone aches and fractures. 150 elderly people from 100 households selected by cluster sampling technique in Ibadan South East Local Government constituted the study population. Dietary assessment was conducted using 24-hour dietary recall and analysed for calcium intake. Consumption pattern was assessed using food frequency questionnaire, blood pressure was taken using aneroid sphygmomanometer, lifestyles and sociodemographic characteristics were obtained using a semi-structured questionnaire. The mean calcium intake was 1569.8±1209.8mg disaggregated as 1782.4±1353.4mg in males and 1432.0±1092.6mg in females. 39.3% disaggregated as 44.1% in males and 36.3% in females, met the recommended intakes of 1500mg/day. Roots and tubers were the most consumed food, followed by vegetables and then cereals and grains. Milk and dairy as well as fish and meat products were the least consumed foods. 47.3% rarely consumed milk and dairy products and 42.7% rarely consumed fish and meat products throughout the week. 56.7% had normal diastolic blood pressure and 64.7% had normal systolic pressure. 65.3% reported having pains and bone aches, sites of pain were back (44.7%), knee and ankle (9.3%), hip joint (6.7%), and wrist (4.7%). There were no significant differences (p>0.05) in the calcium intake by age, systolic blood pressure and incidence of bone pains and aches. However, income and the diastolic blood pressure showed significant relationship (p>0.05) with calcium intake. The results show that many elderly Nigerians have inadequate calcium intake, however, calcium intake does not affect incidence of pains and aches. There is a need to promote increased consumption of calcium rich foods.
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