Vitamin D is essential for bone strength and health. Whether we get vitamin D through exposure to sunlight or through dietary supplements, it is critical in helping our bodies absorb the calcium we need for strong bones. While it is true that vitamin D deficiency is a common problem among seniors, according to a new study, too much vitamin D can also be harmful.
There Can be too Much of a Good Thing
A Swedish study published in JAMA Internal Medicine tracked 200 seniors over age 70, two thirds of which were women, for one year. All of the seniors studied had fallen previously, and 60% were considered vitamin D deficient. They split the seniors into three groups, giving them different doses of vitamin D3 (the over the counter vitamin D supplement). Researchers expected to find that the group given the highest level of D3 would experience the least amount of falls for the year, but they found quite the opposite. The group with the lowest dose, 800 IU, reported falls for 48% of seniors, compared to 67% for the seniors taking the highest dose, 2000 IU, of D3. The lower dose group even showed the most improvement in leg function during the study. Researchers believe that there is an ideal range for vitamin D and too much can increase your risk for falls.
How much Vitamin D do Seniors Need?
The Institute of Medicine recommends that seniors get about 800 IU each day. The best ways to get vitamin D is through sun exposure and a fortified diet.
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