Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Preventing Falls The Vitamin D Way

Because falls -- or the risk of them -- are such a huge problem for seniors, preventing them is the best defense for safeguarding and enhancing their health. You can add vitamin D to that list of measures you can take, according to an Australian study.

Scientists tested vitamin D supplementation versus a placebo on more than 600 Aussie seniors for two years with no such deficiencies living in care facilities.

Elderly patients who took vitamin D supplements cut their chances of falling by 27 percent. (Interestingly, patients who took a placebo lessened their chances of falls by 37 percent, lending credence to the power of the placebo.)

Some variables to remember about getting the right amount of vitamin D every day:

Because your optimal vitamin D levels lie in the small range, it's important to have your blood tested.
The best way to get the right amount of vitamin D is to get plenty of sunshine.
With winter rearing its ugly head across the country and daylight becoming scarce, your best bet may be supplementation, in the form of eggs, organ meats, animal fat, cod liver oil and fish.

By the way, another useful tool for seniors to prevent falls that doesn't involve health-harming treatments or drugs: A regular exercise program.

Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, Vol. 53, No. 11, November 2005: 1811-1888

Yahoo News November 21, 2005

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