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Once-A-Year Vitamin D Megadose Ups Fracture Risk: Study
Date:5/11/2010

Smaller, more frequent doses still considered protective, experts say,,

TUESDAY, May 11 (HealthDay News) -- A large once-a-year dose of vitamin D, while convenient, doesn't offer the same protection against falls and fractures in older women that smaller, more frequent doses may, a new study has found.

What's more, the research suggests that when older women take a high annual dose of vitamin D, it actually increases the risk of falls by 15 percent and the risk of fractures by 26 percent, compared to women taking a placebo.

"Until further evidence to the contrary is obtained, high-dose vitamin D should be avoided, at least in older women who are not vitamin D deficient," said the study's senior author, Geoffrey Nicholson, a professor of medicine and head of the department of clinical and biomedical sciences at the University of Melbourne in Australia.

Both vitamin D and calcium are vital to the production of new bone, according to the U.S. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Vitamin D is found in some foods, and the body naturally produces vitamin D when exposed to sufficient sunlight.

Previous studies have found mixed results on the role of vitamin D supplements in protecting against falls and fractures in older adults. Some studies have reported that taking a daily dose of 700 to 800 international units (IUs) of vitamin D reduces fracture risk by up to 26 percent, according to background information in the study. But other studies have found vitamin D to be ineffective.

This discrepancy has led some researchers to suspect that people in the studies may have inadvertently missed some doses of their daily vitamin D pills, leading the authors of the current study to wonder if a high annual dose would offer the same type of protection against fractures, because it would be much easier to ensure compliance with a once-a-year dose.

The study included 2,256 communit
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