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May 12, 2010

High-Dose Vitamin D Supplementation: Too Much of a Good Thing?

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts.

JAMA. 2010;303(18):1861-1862. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.598

Many randomized controlled trials indicate that vitamin D will reduce falls and fractures. Therefore, the hypothesis in the study by Sanders et al1 in this issue of JAMA, that a single annual 500 000-IU oral dose of cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) would be effective in reducing falls and fractures in older women with 1 or more risk factors for falling was a reasonable one. However, not only was this regimen not effective in lowering risk, it also increased risk of falls and fractures, with the greatest increase occurring during the first 3 months after dosing. An increase in fractures but not falls was reported in another trial in which high-dose ergocalciferol was given intramuscularly each year to men and women 75 years or older.2

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