The effect of vitamin D and calcium supplementation on falls in older adults : A systematic review and meta-analysis

Orthopade. 2017 Sep;46(9):729-736. doi: 10.1007/s00132-017-3446-y.


Objectives: A number of studies have hypothesized that vitamin D is a potential factor in the prevention of falls in the elderly; however, the effect of vitamin D is still inconsistent and not quantitative. We conducted this meta-analysis to assess the effect of vitamin D on falls among elderly individuals.

Methods: The PubMed and Cochrane Library databases were searched from the earliest possible year up to December 2016. Two authors working independently reviewed the trials, and odds ratios (ORs) were calculated using a fixed-effect or random-effect model by Review Manager 5.3. We included only double-blind randomized, controlled trials (RCTs) of vitamin D in elderly populations that examined fall results.

Results: A total of 26 articles were included in which 16,540 elderly individuals received vitamin D supplementation, while 16,146 were assigned to control groups. The meta-analysis showed that combined vitamin D plus calcium supplementation has a significant effect on the reduction in the risk of falls (OR for the risk of suffering at least one fall, 0.87; 95% CI, 0.80-0.94). However, no significant association between vitamin D2 or D3 and a reduction in the risk of falls was found (OR, 0.77; 95% CI, 0.58-1.03 for vitamin D2, and OR, 1.08; 95% CI, 0.98-1.20 for vitamin D3).

Conclusions: Combined calcium plus vitamin D supplementation is statistically significantly associated with a reduction in fall risks across various populations.

Keywords: 1, 25-Dihydroxyvitamin D; 25-Hydroxyvitamin D; Calcium; Elderly; Fall risk; Vitamin D.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / prevention & control*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Calcium Carbonate / therapeutic use*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Frail Elderly*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Vitamin D / analogs & derivatives*
  • Vitamin D / therapeutic use


  • Vitamin D
  • 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D
  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D
  • Calcium Carbonate