(Reuters Health) – Many older adults should avoid taking vitamin D and calcium supplements to prevent falls and fractures, and focus instead on exercises to improve balance and coordination, U.S. doctors recommend.
The conclusion issued Tuesday by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) on fall and fracture prevention comes amid growing debate in the medical community over the role of vitamin D, which may help some people at lower doses but is linked to an increased risk of fractures, falls, kidney stones and certain cancers at higher doses.
“Vitamin D should not be taken to prevent falls in older adults, and lower doses of vitamin D and calcium do not prevent fractures in postmenopausal women,” said Task Force vice chair Dr. Alex Krist, of Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.
“If healthy people are taking vitamin D solely for these reasons, they should probably stop,” Krist said by email. “We know that there are more effective interventions for people concerned about falls, like exercise.”
Vitamin D helps the body use calcium to support bone health. The recommended daily intake of vitamin D for most adults is 600 international units, or 800 IU after age 70.
Some people take vitamin D
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