Vitamin D can lower acute respiratory illness incidents in older patients, study finds

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Vitamin D helps reduce the acute respiratory illness incidents in elderly, long-term care residents, according to clinical trial results that the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society published.

Researchers examined 107 patients, an average age of 84 years old, over a 12-month period. Of those patients, 55 received high doses of vitamin D, averaging 3,300 units to 4,300 units daily; and 52 received lower doses, averaging between 400 units and 1,000 units daily.

The patients who received higher doses saw acute respiratory illness incidents cut nearly in half. But, researchers cautioned the study is not definitive proof that vitamin D can prevent acute respiratory illnesses, but it suggests that it can.

However, the results also show that those who received higher doses of vitamin D also saw an increase in falls. "This finding requires a confirmatory trial, including whether high daily doses of vitamin D, rather than high monthly doses, makes patients less likely to fall," said Adit Ginde, MD, MPH, professor of emergency medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora and the study's lead author.

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