(HealthDay News) — Delivering vitamin D supplements to homebound seniors might help lower their risk for falls, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Denise Houston, PhD, associate professor of gerontology and geriatric medicine at the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and colleagues arranged to have vitamin D supplements delivered to Meals on Wheels clients. 

Over 5 months, 68 homebound seniors received either a monthly vitamin D supplement of 100,000 international units (IU) or a placebo with their Meals on Wheels prepared-food deliveries.

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At the start of the study, more than half of the seniors had insufficient vitamin D levels, and fewer than one-quarter had optimal levels. The supplements increased vitamin D from insufficient to sufficient levels in all but one senior who received the supplements, and to optimal levels in all but five. Also, seniors who received the vitamin D supplements reported about half the falls as those in the placebo group.

“Although these initial findings are encouraging, we need to confirm the results in a larger trial,” Houston said in a Wake Forest news release. Every year, about one-third of seniors who live at home suffer falls, and about one in 10 falls result in serious injury, the researchers say.


  1. Houston DK et al. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2015;doi:10.1111/jgs.13610.