Jan. 14 (UPI) -- Taking vitamin D supplements has almost no health benefit to people over age 70, a new study says.
A group of 70-year-olds took 300 micrograms, 600 microgram or 1200 microgram of vitamin D for a year and showed no change in bone mineral density, or BMD, according to a study published this month in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
"Vitamin D deficiency is common in older people, and it may lead to bone loss, impairment of muscle function and an increased risk of falls and fractures," Terry Aspray, a researcher at Newcastle University's Institute of Cellular Medicine and study author, said in a news release. "The results from previous studies assessing the effect of vitamin D on bone mineral density have yielded conflicting results, and our study is a significant contribution to the current debate."
Loss of bone density among older adults can increase the likelihood of being injured during a fall. According to a recent report from the National Safety Council, falls are the third leading cause of preventable deaths in the U.S.
Furthermore, falls killed nearly 30,000 Americans over the age of 65 in 2016.
Risk of falling doesn't only jeopardize a person's life, the researchers say, it chips away at their self-esteem and confidence.
The vitamin D study did, however, show that 40 micrograms a day of the supplement helped bone metabolism.
To help with bone strength, the study's researchers say older people should concentrate on eating healthier, getting enough sun and exercising regularly.
"The current guidance is still that people at risk of low vitamin D should consider taking a daily vitamin D supplement, as should everyone during the winter months," Aspray said. "Work is needed to implement effective strategies to prevent falls and fractures among older people, and to understand the role of medications and dietary supplements in this."