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Higher Doses of Vitamin D Prevent Fractures in Older Women
Date:7/5/2012

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, July 4 (HealthDay News) -- In the latest study to look at the effect of vitamin D on fracture risk, Swiss researchers found that taking more than 800 international units (IU) of vitamin D daily could reduce the risk of hip fractures in older women by 30 percent.

"Vitamin D supplementation is effective in fracture reduction, including hip fractures," said study author Dr. Heike Bischoff-Ferrari, from the Center on Aging and Mobility at the University of Zurich and Wald City Hospital, also in Zurich.

"However, dose matters, as we saw this benefit only at the highest intake level of greater than 800 IU per day, and no dose below 792 IU per day reduced fracture risk," she said.

If everyone took more than 800 IU of vitamin D daily, the impact on public health could be enormous because hip fractures are the most severe and frequent fractures among the elderly, according to Bischoff-Ferrari.

Results of the study are published in the July 5 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Vitamin D is important for bone health, according to Dr. Anna Lasak, clinical director of the department of rehabilitation and the women's physical medicine and rehabilitation program at Montefiore Medical Center, in New York City. The body makes vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. Sunscreen blocks this effect.

Vitamin D is also found in fatty fish, eggs and some mushrooms, she said. It's also added to dairy products, some cereals and some breads, according to Lasak. But, she said, it can be difficult, especially for elderly people, to get enough vitamin D from these sources. In addition, elderly people may have digestive issues that can cause their bodies to absorb even less vitamin D.

A number of studies have been done looking at vitamin D and bone health, and the studies have often come up with conflicting findings, with some showing benefits, while others
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