Vitamin D may help prevent falls in older women

January 28, 2008

Vitamin D supplements plus calcium may lower the risk of falls among older women who have a high risk of falling, according to a year-long clinical study conducted in Perth, Australia. Elderly women who are at risk of falling can benefit from extra vitamin D and calcium to reduce their risk by 53-63 percent a year according to the scientists from the University of Western Australia, Perth. In addition, they can expect that this treatment will reduce their fracture risk by about 20 percent over five years. Roughly one third of women older than 65 years fall each year, with 6 percent sustaining a fracture, Prince and associates note in a report published Monday in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
The researchers studied the impact of vitamin D2 supplementation in 302 women ages 70 to 90 years who had a history of falling. Both groups received 1,000 milligrams calcium citrate daily. Half of the women took 1,000 international units of vitamin D2 daily and half took a matching placebo. Over the course of 12 months, 80 women (53 percent) in the vitamin D2 group fell at least once compared with 95 women (63 percent) in the control group. After taking into account height, which affected the risk of falling and was significantly different between the two groups, vitamin D2 supplementation lowered the risk of at least one fall by 19 percent, the report indicates. The study is published in the January 14th, 2008 issue of the journal Archives of Internal Medicine.

Lutein, Zeaxanthin, vitamin E eyed for cataracts

A higher intake of the carotenoids Lutein and Zeaxanthin, as well as vitamin E, could reduce the risk of developing cataracts according to the results of a new study.
Over 35,000 women took part in the study, which showed that a high intake of the two carotenoids reduced the risk of cataracts by 18 per cent, while vitamin E was associated with a 14 per cent reduction, reports the study in the Archives of Ophthalmology.
"The results of the present study add to the growing body of observational evidence that suggests a possible beneficial effect of Lutein/ Zeaxanthin in delaying cataract formation," wrote lead author William Christen from Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School.
"Lutein and Zeaxanthin are the only carotenoids detected in the human lens, and the presence of oxidation products of Lutein and Zeaxanthin in the lens further supports a functional role for xanthophylls in maintaining lens clarity."
The study adds to an ever-growing body of science supporting the role of Lutein and Zeaxanthin for eye health, with the majority supporting their role against age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of legal blindness for people over 55 years of age in the Western world, according to AMD Alliance International.
The researchers recruited 39,876 female health professionals (average age 53.5) and obtained detailed dietary information from 35,551, using food frequency questionnaires (FFQ).
After following the women for 10 years, 2031 cataract cases were confirmed. By quantifying intakes of Lutein and Zeaxanthin into five groups, the researchers report that women with the highest average intake (6 to 7 mg per day) had an 18 per cent lower risk of developing cataracts than women with the lowest average intake (1 to 2 mg per day).
Moreover, women with the highest average vitamin E intake from food and supplements (262.4 milligrams per day or almost 400 IU) were 14 per cent less likely to develop cataracts than women with the lowest average intake (4.4 milligrams per day or about 7 IU).
"In conclusion, these prospective data from a large cohort of female health professionals indicate that higher intakes of Lutein Zeaxanthin and vitamin E are associated with decreased risk of cataract," the authors write. The study is published in the January 2008 issue of the journal Archives of Ophthalmology.

Vitamin C reduces the risk of cataract

New research from Japan shows that high intake of Vitamin C helps prevent cataracts. The study followed 35,186 people between the ages of 45-64 for five years. It found that men consuming the most Vitamin C cut their risk of developing a cataract by 35% vs. those with the lowest intake. Women reduced their risk by 41% (highest vs. lowest intake); it’s interesting to note that women who reduced their risk by 40% had a higher Vitamin C intake than men who reduced their risk by a third – both groups consumed far more than the RDA. The study is published in the January 30th, 2007 issue of the European Journal of Nutrition.