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Age Ageing. 2006 Sep;35(5):482-6. Epub 2006 Apr 26.

Vitamin D supplementation and the prevention of fractures and falls: results of a randomised trial in elderly people in residential accommodation.

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Centre for Environmental and Preventive Medicine, Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, Barts and The London, Queen Mary's School of Medicine and Dentistry, Charterhouse Square, London EC1M 6BQ, UK.



To determine whether vitamin D supplementation reduces the risk of fracture or falls in elderly people in care home accommodation.


A randomised controlled trial of cluster design.


223 Residential units (mainly identical 30-bedded units), within 118 homes for elderly people throughout Britain, with 3,717 participating residents (76% women, average age 85 years). The units provided mainly or entirely residential care (35% of residents), nursing care (42%) or care for elderly mentally infirm (EMI) residents (23%).


Participants were randomly allocated by residential unit (cluster design) to a treated group offered ergocalciferol 2.5 mg every 3 months (equivalent to a daily dose of 1,100 IU), or to a control group. Fractures were reported by staff and confirmed in hospital, and routinely collected data on reported falls were obtained.


After median follow-up of 10 months (interquartile range 7-14 months), 64 (3.6%) of 1,762 vitamin D-treated residents and 51 (2.6%) of 1,955 controls had one or more non-vertebral fractures, and 24 (1.3%) and 20 (1.0%), respectively, had a hip fracture. The proportion reporting at least one fall was 44% in vitamin D-treated and 43% in control residents. The differences between the vitamin D and control groups were not statistically significant. The incidence of all non-vertebral fractures in the care homes (3.2% per year) and of hip fractures (1.1% per year) was low, similar to rates in elderly people in sheltered accommodation, and the pre-treatment serum 25-hydroxy vitamin D concentration was high [median 47 nmol/l, measured in a 1% (n = 18) sample].


We found no evidence that vitamin D prevents fractures or falls in elderly people in care home accommodation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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