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Better Together: Vitamin D and Exercise Lower Risk of Injury from Falling in Older Women

A study found that together, exercise and vitamin D supplements cut the risk of injury from falling in older women by more than half. Published in JAMA Internal Medicine, the study divided 409 women ages 70 to 80 into four groups: one received a placebo and didn’t exercise, a second received vitamin D (800 IU per day) and didn’t exercise, a third received a placebo and exercised, and a fourth received vitamin D (800 IU per day) and exercised. Each of the women had fallen at least once during the previous year, prior to participating in the study. After tracking the women for two years, here’s what the researchers discovered:

  • Exercising and taking vitamin D reduced the risk of injury from falling by 62%.
  • Exercising without taking vitamin D reduced the risk of injury from falling by 53%.
  • Only exercise improved muscle strength and balance; however, vitamin D helped maintain bone mineral density.
  • Neither exercise nor vitamin D reduced the risk of falling itself.

The findings are especially important because they suggest a possible strategy for preventing the hazards of falling—a leading cause of unintentional injuries and fractures in older adults.

Source: JAMA Internal Medicine

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