A higher dose of vitamin d reduces the risk of falls in nursing home residents: a randomized, multiple-dose study

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2007 Feb;55(2):234-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2007.01048.x.


Objectives: To determine the effect of four vitamin D supplement doses on falls risk in elderly nursing home residents.

Design: Secondary data analysis of a previously conducted randomized clinical trial.

Setting: Seven hundred twenty-five-bed long-term care facility.

Participants: One hundred twenty-four nursing home residents (average age 89).

Intervention: Participants were randomly assigned to receive one of four vitamin D supplement doses (200 IU, 400 IU, 600 IU, or 800 IU) or placebo daily for 5 months.

Measurements: Number of fallers and number of falls assessed using facility incident tracking database.

Results: Over the 5-month study period, the proportion of participants with falls was 44% in the placebo group (11/25), 58% (15/26) in the 200 IU group, 60% (15/25) in the 400 IU group, 60% (15/25) in the 600 IU group, and 20% (5/23) in the 800 IU group. Participants in the 800 IU group had a 72% lower adjusted-incidence rate ratio of falls than those taking placebo over the 5 months (rate ratio=0.28; 95% confidence interval=0.11-0.75). No significant differences were observed for the adjusted fall rates compared to placebo in any of the other supplement groups.

Conclusion: Nursing home residents in the highest vitamin D group (800 IU) had a lower number of fallers and a lower incidence rate of falls over 5 months than those taking lower doses. Adequate vitamin D supplementation in elderly nursing home residents could reduce the number of falls experienced by this high falls risk group.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / prevention & control*
  • Accidental Falls / statistics & numerical data
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Homes for the Aged
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Nursing Homes
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vitamin D / administration & dosage*
  • Vitamins / administration & dosage*


  • Vitamins
  • Vitamin D