New study suggests vitamin D supplementation is a cost effective intervention to prevent falls

Posted on: August 14, 2015   by  Vitamin D Council

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A recent study published by the journal Pharmacokinetics determined that vitamin D supplementation along with an annual medication review are cost-effective interventions that reduce falls and provide health benefits in older adults living in assisted living facilities.

An estimated one out of three older adults fall each year. In 2013, the costs of medical falls, adjusted for inflation, were $34 billion. Due to the large health care costs, researchers have studied various prevention strategies, including vitamin D supplementation.

In a recent study, researchers sought to determine the cost effective interventions to prevent falls and fall-related injuries in older adults living in assisted living facilities. Data of the effectiveness was derived from two reviews of randomized controlled trials. The interventions were defined as effective if they reduced the risk of injury after a fall or reduced the risk of falling.

Vitamin D supplementation and annual medication reviews were found to be more effective and less costly in comparison to no intervention and hip protectors.

The researchers concluded,

“The model suggests that vitamin D supplementation and medication review are cost-effective interventions that reduce falls, provide health benefits and reduce health care costs in older adults living in [residential aged care facilities].”

Source

Church JL & et al. Cost Effectiveness of Falls and Injury Prevention Strategies for Older Adults Living in Residential Aged Care Facilities. Pharmacokinetics, 2015.

3 Responses to New study suggests vitamin D supplementation is a cost effective intervention to prevent falls

  1. Ian

    Why is there such contradiction in this field: eg.

    Bolland MJ, Grey A, Gamble GD, Reid IR. Vitamin D supplementation and falls: a trial sequential meta-analysis. Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol 2014;2:573–580.

    What Works to Prevent Falls in Community-Dwelling Older Adults? Umbrella Review of Meta-analyses of Randomized Controlled Trials
    PHYS THER August 2015 95:1095-1110; published ahead of print February 5, 2015,

    and this from I Reid:

    “The results of ongoing vitamin D trials may be of limited value, since our recent trial sequential meta-analyses suggest that new data are unlikely to change the conclusions of current meta-analyses, because of the substantial body of negative data that already exists [5, 6]. The authors’ final sentence raises an interesting point: when there is a large body of evidence from randomised controlled trials with meaningful clinical endpoints that rules out important clinical effects [5–9], at what point is there enough evidence to state that an intervention is not effective?”

    It seems that Bolland, Grey and Reid think that there is no value in supplementing with vitamin D – at all!

    Where do you think this will end up?
    Are Bolland et al just saying that Vit D monotherapy are of no/limited value?
    No-one has yet studied Vitamin D with Magnesium and Vitamin K2 supplementation. Would this affect the outcomes for fall/fracture?

    Surely it would not be that hard to use these three in combination? Or is it? The vitamin D is often given monthly, you can’t do that with magnesium or with vitamin K.

  2. hlahore@gmail.com

    Taking just 40 cents of vitamin D once a month (in food or drink) was found to reduce falls by half.
    http://vitamindwiki.com/tiki-index.php?page_id=6811
    There are a great many other benefits as well.

  3. Ian

    Henry. Yes I read that pilot study and it is indeed a positive result. The point I am making is that the meta-analyses are so mixed and authors like Bolland et al are claiming that there is insufficient or no evidence that vitamin D reduces falls.

    Why are we getting such mixed results?
    Poor methodology (eg low doses, monotherapy, low patient numbers)
    Not differentiating the cohort. (eg. positive responders and negative responders)

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