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

y-dwelling women who were older than 70 at the start of the study and who were considered to be at high risk of fractures. Women were randomly assigned to receive either an annual dose of 500,000 IUs of vitamin D or a placebo for three to five years. Both the vitamin D and the placebo consisted of 10 tablets to be taken in a single day.

The researchers found that women in the high-dose vitamin D group had 171 fractures, versus 135 fractures in the placebo group. During the study, 837 women taking vitamin D fell 2,892 times compared to 769 women in the placebo group, who fell 2,512 times.

The risk of falling was increased by 31 percent during the first three months after taking the annual dose of vitamin D, according to the study published in the May 12 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Nicholson said the researchers weren't sure why the women taking vitamin D had a higher risk of falls and fractures.

In an accompanying editorial in the same issue of the journal, experts from Tufts University theorized that this study may have provided "too much of a good thing," and that the body may attempt to lower vitamin D levels when faced with such a high dose. Or, they suggested, it could be that those high levels of vitamin D may have reduced chronic pain levels or improved physical performance in older adults, allowing them to participate in activities that increased their fall and fracture risk.

"Vitamin D is an incredibly important component in the body, and it's so important that I wouldn't even guess why the annual dose caused an increase in falls and fractures," said Dr. Michael Perskin, chief of geriatrics at Tisch Hospital at the NYU Langone Medical Center. "Vitamin D is found a little bit in food and our bodies create more with sun, but those doses are titrated [continually adjusted to balance the body's needs]. There's no reason to think that would translate to once-a-year dosing. Imagine
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