Vitamin D 'can help balance'

People aged 65 and over should take high-dose vitamin D to help stop them falling over, according to research.

They can cut their chance of falls by 19 per cent if they take 700- 1,000IU (17.5-25 micrograms) of the vitamin as a daily supplement, according to research published online in the British Medical Journal (BMJ). It found a dose lower than 700IU per day had no effect.

Eight clinical trials on more than 2,400 people were included in the review of studies. It concluded that vitamin D2 at high doses could cut the risk of falling by 19 per cent while vitamin D3 could lead to a possible 26 per cent reduction.

The vitamins began to have an effect within two to five months of starting treatment and were still effective after a year, it found. Previous research has shown that vitamin D improves strength and balance among older people, while other studies have found no significant effect on the risk of falling. Severe deficiency of vitamin D has been shown to cause muscle weakness.

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