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Can vitamin D help prevent falls in the elderly?

Can vitamin D help prevent falls in the elderly?

Though it may not seem it at first glance, Australia is a country with an ageing population. Indeed, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, over the 20 years between 1994 and 2014, there were proportionally fewer people under the age of 15, but a marked increase in Aussies aged 65 and above. Why has this occurred? The same source states that it's down to low fertility rates, but the advances of modern medicine have ensured that we enjoy a greater life expectancy. 

One fall step for man ... 

However, the older we get, the more susceptible we are to trips, slips and falls. Figures released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found that 83,800 people aged 65 and over experienced a fall between the years 2009-10, a number which increased by over 5,000 over the previous year - and it's rising still.  

The sheer fear of an accident itself can be enough to render a person afraid of stepping outside their own home.

Of course, injury from these falls can be serious, with fractured bones, sprains and dislocations a common risk of taking a tumble. It's not just injury that's a problem when it comes to falls in the elderly - the sheer fear of an accident itself can be enough to render a person afraid of stepping outside their own home, bringing a loss of independence and reluctance to keep up an exercise regime as part of a healthy lifestyle. 

Sun-day supplements

A new study, though, has found that vitamin D - produced naturally by the body when exposed to sunlight - could be a major factor in preventing falls. How? Well, academics at the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center figured that vitamin D is essential to muscle strength and integrity, as well as bone durability. Therefore, it was theorised that vitamin D supplements could be an efficient weapon in the fight against falls.  

For the experiment, 68 participants, aged 65 or over, ingested either a monthly vitamin D supplement or a placebo. Each of the participants' fall history was analysed, as well as vitamin D levels before and after the experiment. From the initial 'before' samples, it was noted that over half of the volunteers had less than the recommended level of vitamin D circulating around their system, and under 25 per cent had the perfect level. The participants were also asked to keep a diary, recording their falls, and near misses.  

Even the fear of falling can lead to a loss of independence and mobility.Even the fear of falling can lead to a loss of independence and mobility.

Of the 34 people that received a vitamin D supplement, 33 of them saw their vitamin D levels rise to sufficient, with 29 of this group hitting the optimum range. Additionally, the seniors who took the supplement were subjected to only half the number of falls suffered by the placebo group.   

Try to ensure that the senior citizens in your life are receiving adequate levels of vitamin D - fatty fish, cheese and egg yolks are foods full of it!

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Can vitamin D help prevent falls in the elderly?

Australia's ageing population is more susceptible to falls than ever. A new study has discovered that vitamin D supplements can help prevent such accidents.

Though it may not seem it at first glance, Australia is a country with an ageing population. Indeed, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, over the 20 years between 1994 and 2014, there were proportionally fewer people under the age of 15, but a marked increase in Aussies aged 65 and above. Why has this occurred? The same source states that it's down to low fertility rates, but the advances of modern medicine have ensured that we enjoy a greater life expectancy. 

One fall step for man ... 

However, the older we get, the more susceptible we are to trips, slips and falls. Figures released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found that 83,800 people aged 65 and over experienced a fall between the years 2009-10, a number which increased by over 5,000 over the previous year - and it's rising still.  

The sheer fear of an accident itself can be enough to render a person afraid of stepping outside their own home.

Of course, injury from these falls can be serious, with fractured bones, sprains and dislocations a common risk of taking a tumble. It's not just injury that's a problem when it comes to falls in the elderly - the sheer fear of an accident itself can be enough to render a person afraid of stepping outside their own home, bringing a loss of independence and reluctance to keep up an exercise regime as part of a healthy lifestyle. 

Sun-day supplements

A new study, though, has found that vitamin D - produced naturally by the body when exposed to sunlight - could be a major factor in preventing falls. How? Well, academics at the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center figured that vitamin D is essential to muscle strength and integrity, as well as bone durability. Therefore, it was theorised that vitamin D supplements could be an efficient weapon in the fight against falls.  

For the experiment, 68 participants, aged 65 or over, ingested either a monthly vitamin D supplement or a placebo. Each of the participants' fall history was analysed, as well as vitamin D levels before and after the experiment. From the initial 'before' samples, it was noted that over half of the volunteers had less than the recommended level of vitamin D circulating around their system, and under 25 per cent had the perfect level. The participants were also asked to keep a diary, recording their falls, and near misses.  

Even the fear of falling can lead to a loss of independence and mobility.Even the fear of falling can lead to a loss of independence and mobility.

Of the 34 people that received a vitamin D supplement, 33 of them saw their vitamin D levels rise to sufficient, with 29 of this group hitting the optimum range. Additionally, the seniors who took the supplement were subjected to only half the number of falls suffered by the placebo group.   

Try to ensure that the senior citizens in your life are receiving adequate levels of vitamin D - fatty fish, cheese and egg yolks are foods full of it!

Can vitamin D help prevent falls in the elderly?
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