No evidence has been observed to back up the theory that vitamin D supplements prevent falls among older people as suggested by researchers.
The study, by Dr Mark Bolland of the University of Auckland, New Zealand, and colleagues, analysed findings from 20 randomised controlled trials which tested the potential of vitamin D supplements to reduce falls, in a total of 29535 people.
The findings show that supplements do not reduce falls by 15 per cent or more, meaning that the amount that vitamin D supplementation reduces fall risk at a population level is very low.
Falls can be devastating for older people, and strategies to reduce fall risk are urgently needed as the global population ages. The results of trials that have investigated the ability of vitamin D to prevent falls - and those of previous meta-analyses - have been mixed. It is unclear how vitamin D supplements might prevent falls but, until now, there has been enough positive evidence to support its recommendation by some health organisations.
The met-analysis has been published in The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology journal.