The journal of nutrition, health & aging

, Volume 16, Issue 10, pp 898–901 | Cite as

Serum vitamin d concentrations are associated with falling and cognitive function in older adults

  • Amie PetersonEmail author
  • N. Mattek
  • A. Clemons
  • G. L. Bowman
  • T. Buracchio
  • J. Kaye
  • J. Quinn



To elucidate the mechanism through which vitamin D is associated with decreased falls.


This was a convenience sample from a larger observational study examining correlations between vitamin D and 1) falls, 2) motor function, and 3) cognition (n=159).


Falls data were collected via weekly on-line surveys completed in the participants’ homes. Yearly evaluations of motor and cognitive function were conducted in an out-patient setting of a large tertiary medical center.


Participants from the Intelligent Systems for Assessment of Aging Changes Study (ISAAC), a community-based cohort study of independently living older adults over age 70, who had vitamin D concentration within 6 months of clinical evaluations were included in the analysis.


Participants mean age was 85 years and 74% were women. Fallers (n=37) had significantly lower vitamin D concentration (32.9ng/ml) compared to non-fallers (39.2ng/ml) (p<0.01). The relationship between vitamin D and falls remained significant after adjusting for age, health status (via CIRS), and supplement use (p=0.004). Vitamin D concentration were significantly associated with cognitive impairment (Clinical Dementia Rating = 0.5) (p=0.02) and MMSE (p<0.01) after adjusting for age, gender, and education. Vitamin D concentrations did not correlate with any motor measures.


Vitamin D concentrations correlated with cognition and falls, but not with motor measures. Further research is needed to demonstrate a causal relationship between vitamin D and cognitive function and determine if cognition plays a role in falls reduction.

Key words

Accidental falls cognitive function vitamin D 


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Copyright information

© Serdi and Springer-Verlag France 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amie Peterson
    • 1
    • 5
    • 6
    Email author
  • N. Mattek
    • 1
    • 4
  • A. Clemons
    • 1
  • G. L. Bowman
    • 1
    • 2
  • T. Buracchio
    • 1
    • 4
    • 5
  • J. Kaye
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • J. Quinn
    • 1
    • 5
  1. 1.Departments of NeurologyPortlandUSA
  2. 2.Public Health and Preventive MedicinePortlandUSA
  3. 3.Biomedical EngineeringPortlandUSA
  4. 4.Oregon Center for Aging & TechnologyPortlandUSA
  5. 5.Oregon Health and Science University and Portland Veteran Affairs Medical CenterPortlandUSA
  6. 6.M.D. Oregon Health and Science UniversityPortlandUSA

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