Vitamin D is something of a miracle supplement. In the past week alone, studies have found that low levels of D in your body can increase your risk of leukemia (a blood cancer) and irritable bowel syndrome. Other studies have shown many benefits to taking the supplement, including stronger bones and a lower risk of dementia and heart disease.
But too much of the sunshine vitamin (so called because your body manufacturers it naturally from the sun's rays if you spend enough time outdoors) ISN'T better for you--especially when it comes to protecting yourself against falls when you're old.
Previous studies have found that taking more than the recommended dose of the supplement had led to a rise in falls and fractures in people over 70. So researchers from the University Hospital Zurich in Switzerland set about trying to confirm this. They divided 200 people ages 70 and older into three groups: one took the recommended dose of 800 IU daily; the other took a whopping 2,000 IUs a day; the third group took the recommended dose plus calcifediol, another supplement that's essentially a broken-down form of vitamin D.
The results surprised even the researchers. Those who took the recommended dose had FEWER falls than those who took more. Even more astonishing, these folks had MORE muscle strength, which helps people maintain their balance.
The bottom line: Don't give up the vitamin if you take it. But stick to the recommended dose, or talk to your doctor about the amount that's right for you.
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