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Vitamin D and Exercise Are Best Measures for Avoiding Falls

A large review of over 50 separate studies has found that taking vitamin D and exercising may be the best ways to avoid deadly falls among mature adults. The study was conducted by the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force and published in the December 2010 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

With the number of falls among mature adults significantly increasing every year, finding preventative measures is becoming ever more important. Currently, falls are the leading cause of disability, death and loss of independence for adults over the age of 65.

This large increase prompted the researchers to identify the most effective preventative measures for physicians to prescribe to their more mature patients.

After analyzing 54 studies with over 26,000 participants, the researchers found that vitamin D supplements and exercise were the most effective ways to reduce the risk of falling.

Vitamin D had the largest effect, with supplements associated with a 17% reduction in fall risk. Exercise was a close second, with a 13% reduction in fall risk associated with exercises ranging from balance, flexibility and weight training.

Beyond reducing the risk of falls, vitamin D has also been associated with numerous additional benefits including bone health, protecting against mental decline and lowering blood pressure.

Many older adults are vitamin D deficient because our skin becomes less efficient at synthesizing the vitamin from the sun as we age. For this reason, taking a supplement or eating more foods fortified with vitamin D is a good idea. Some foods that are often fortified with vitamin D are yogurt, milk, orange juice, cereals and margarine.

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