May 03, 2004
|Life Extension Update Exclusive |
JAMA meta-analysis finds vitamin D supplements help prevent falls
The authors examined five double-blind randomized clinical trials that assessed the effect of any type of vitamin D on falls among individuals aged 60 and older. The primary analysis included 1,237 people with a mean age of 70 years, of whom 81 percent were women. Vitamin D intake ranged from 400 international units (iu) to 800 iu, or an active vitamin D analogue was administerd.
Analysis of the data from the five studies showed that taking vitamin D supplements was associated with a 22 percent reduction in the risk of falling compared with subjects who received calcium or a placebo. When the studies were examined separately, two of them found that 400 iu vitamin D did not significantly reduce fracture risk, and one found that it did not prevent falls, suggesting that a higher dose is more effective.
The authors conclude that “given the . . . high morbidity, mortality, and economic cost of falls, our results are sufficiently compelling to consider vitamin D supplementation for elderly individuals.”
Calcium is the mineral that automatically comes to mind when considering osteoporosis treatment. However, although bone contains large amounts of calcium, other minerals need to be considered as important in the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis. For example, other trace minerals (minerals needed in small amounts for specific tasks--usually enzyme activation) would include zinc, magnesium, boron, and silicon.
Many people in North America who consume an average diet have magnesium deficiency, and magnesium is important in bone structure. Magnesium deficiency comes about because most magnesium in our diet comes from the magnesium contained in the chlorophyll molecule found mainly in dark green leafy vegetables--not something that most people eat on a daily basis. Magnesium intake should be about half that of calcium, approximately 300-500 mg a day. If not provided in the diet, then magnesium should be supplemented. Some researchers are now also reporting that magnesium deficiency plays a significant role in the development of osteoporosis (Dreosti 1995). Studies have shown that women with osteoporosis tend to have a lower magnesium intake than normal and lower levels of magnesium in their bones.
Vitamin D is necessary for utilization of calcium and phosphorus and in many ways acts as a hormone. The two most important forms of vitamin D are cholecalciferol (D3), which is derived from our own cholesterol and ergocalciferol (D2), a plant analogue derived from the diet. The cholecalciferol supplied by the Life Extension Foundation is synthetic, but its form is identical to that which is derived from cholesterol and synthesized by sunlight on the skin. Cholecalciferol is essential for bone growth and maintenance of bone density.
Bone Assure is a comprehensive formula that can help maintain bone mineral density by:
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