JOURNAL ARTICLE
RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL

Effects of three-monthly oral 150,000 IU cholecalciferol supplementation on falls, mobility, and muscle strength in older postmenopausal women: a randomized controlled trial

Paul Glendenning, Kun Zhu, Charles Inderjeeth, Peter Howat, Joshua R Lewis, Richard L Prince
Journal of Bone and Mineral Research 2012, 27 (1): 170-6
21956713
Daily vitamin D in addition to calcium supplementation reduces falls and fractures in older women. However, poor adherence to therapy is a common clinical problem. To examine the effects of supervised oral 3-monthly vitamin D therapy on falls, muscle strength, and mobility, we conducted a 9-month randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in 686 community-dwelling ambulant women aged over 70 years. Participants received either oral cholecalciferol 150,000 IU every 3 months (n = 353) or an identical placebo (n = 333). All participants were advised to increase dietary calcium intake. Falls data were collected 3-monthly. At baseline, 3, 6, and 9 months, muscle strength was measured by a handheld dynamometer and mobility by the Timed Up and Go (TUG) test. Serum 25 hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD) was measured in a subgroup of 40 subjects. Mean age at baseline was 76.7 ± 4.1 years. The average serum 25OHD value at baseline was 65.8 ± 22.7 nmol/L. By 3, 6, and 9 months after supplementation, 25OHD levels of the vitamin D group were approximately 15 nmol/L higher than the placebo group. Calcium intake did not change significantly between baseline (864 ± 412 mg/day) and 9 months (855 ± 357 mg/day). Faller rates in the two groups did not differ: vitamin D group, 102 of 353 (29%); placebo group, 89 of 333 (27%). At 9 months, compared to placebo or baseline, muscle strength, and TUG were not altered by vitamin D. In conclusion, oral cholecalciferol 150,000 IU therapy administered 3-monthly had neither beneficial nor adverse effects on falls or physical function. These data together with previous findings confirm that intermittent large doses of vitamin D are ineffective or have a deleterious effect on falls. Thus despite adherence issues with daily vitamin D replacement, an intermittent, high-dose vitamin D regimen cannot be supported as a strategy to reduce falls and fractures.

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