Many Older Women Don't Need Vitamin D Supplements
Older women may not benefit from vitamin D supplements, according to a new study from the University of Wisconsin.
Researchers randomly divided 230 women into one of three groups: a low dose group taking 800 units of vitamin D a day, a high-dose group taking 50,000 units twice a month, and a control group taking a placebo. All the women had similar vitamin D levels at the beginning of the study.
Their findings, which are published in JAMA, revealed that after the one-year study, the average vitamin D levels were 42 mg in the high-dose group, 27 mg in the low-dose group, and 18 mg in the placebo group. Additionally, calcium absorption increased about 1 percent in the high dose group, decreased 2 percent in the low-dose group and decreased 1.3 percent in the placebo group.
But there were no differences amongst the groups in bone density and osteoporosis risk and no differences in the number of falls or ability to exercise.
The study addresses the mixed messages surrounding vitamin D, where some experts suggest not taking it at all and others recommend very high dosages. Instead, the Wisconsin researchers said their findings support a more middle-of-the-road approach--600 to 800 units a day.