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See 1 citation in Osteoporos Int 2006:

Osteoporos Int. 2006;17(5):656-63. Epub 2006 Mar 1.

Is fall prevention by vitamin D mediated by a change in postural or dynamic balance?

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Department of Rheumatology and Institute of Physical Medicine, University Hospital Zurich, Gloriastrasse 25, 8091, Zurich, Switzerland.



The objectives were:(1) to validate a quantitative balance assessment method for fall risk prediction; (2) to investigate whether the effect of vitamin D and calcium on the risk of falling is mediated through postural or dynamic balance, as assessed by this method.


A secondary analysis of a double blind randomized controlled trial was employed, which included 64 institutionalized elderly women with complete balance assessment (age range: 65-97; mean 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels: 16.4 ng/ml (SD +/-9.9). Participants received 1,200 mg calcium plus 800 IU cholecalciferol (n=33) or 1,200 mg calcium (n=31) per day over a 3-month treatment period. Using an electronic device attached to the lower back of the participant, balance was assessed as the degree of trunk angular displacement and angular velocity during a postural task (standing on two legs, eyes open, for 20 s) and a dynamic task (get up from a standard height chair with arm rests, sit down and then stand up again and remain standing).


It was found that both postural and dynamic balance independently and significantly predicted the rate of falling within the 3-month follow-up. Vitamin D plus calcium reduced the rate of falls by 60% [relative risk (RR)=0.40; 95% CI: 0.17, 0.94] if compared with calcium alone. Once postural and dynamic balance were added to the regression analysis, they both attenuated the effect of vitamin D plus calcium on the rate of falls. For postural balance, the RR changed by 22% from 0.40 to 0.62 if angular displacement was added to the model, and by 9% from 0.40 to 0.49 if angular velocity was added. For dynamic balance, it changed by 1% from 0.40 to 0.41 if angular displacement was added, and by 14% from 0.40 to 0.54 if angular velocity was added.


Thus, balance assessment using trunk angular displacement is a valid method for the prediction of falls in older women. Of the observed 60% reduction in the rate of falls by vitamin D plus calcium supplementation compared with calcium alone, up to 22% of the treatment effect was explained by a change in postural balance and up to 14% by dynamic balance.

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