Vitamin D and prevention of falls in the elderly: a systematic review [Abstract in English]

Renato Gorga Bandeira de Mello, Rodolfo Herberto Schneider, Fabricio Mezzomo Collares, Roberta Rigo Dalacorte


AIMS: To conduct a systematic review to investigate the potential benefits of vitamin D supplementation in the elderly, regarding fall prevention.
SOURCE OF DATA: Randomized controlled clinical trials written in English, in which the study population consisted in individuals over 60 years of age, were selected from MEDLINE database. The objectives of the selected studies should include comparing vitamin D supplementation, in its various formulations, along or not with calcium, with a control intervention, considering the risk of falls in the study group as the outcome of interest.
SUMMARY OF FINDINGS: Based on eight randomized controlled clinical trials involving 2,265 participants, the supplementation with vitamin D reduced the risk of falls in the study group when compared with patients receiving calcium alone or placebo. In the studies of Broe et al., Bischoff-Ferrari et al. (two studies), Dukas et al., Bischoff et al., Flicker et al., and Prince et al., the risk reduction for falling was respectively 72% (relative risk [RR] 0.28, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.11-0.75), 60% (RR 0.40; 95% CI 0.17-0.94), 46% (odds ratio [OR] 0.54; 95% CI 0.30-0.97), 55% (OR 0.45; 95% CI 0.21-0.97), 49% (RR 0.51; 95% CI 0.29-0.86), 27% (RR 0.73; 95% CI 0.37-0.95), and 39% (RR 0.61; 95% CI 0.37-0.99). Only the study of Burleigh et al. found no benefit of vitamin D supplementation on prevention of falling.
CONCLUSIONS: According to current evidence, vitamin D supplementation reduces the risk of falls among individuals over 60 years old and could be considered in the clinical practice for the prevention of falls in the elderly.



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