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Nutrition & Reducing Fall Risks for the Elderly

older-people_0[1]The importance of retaining muscle mass to prevent falls in the aging population is of great importance. This week an article was released in Science News titled “Vitamin D supplements could help reduce falls in homebound elderly.” This article looks at the roll of adequate intake of Vitamin D to help maintain muscle mass in the elderly and citing a study being released in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society. Although this particular study was not large, it still demonstrates the need for the aging population to maintain adequate muscle mass and core body strength to help reduce the risk of falling. This may sound like a simple premise, but a strong abdominal core supports the body more efficiently and maintains a proper posture.

As we age, we do not necessarily maintain our skeletal muscle mass for many reasons including a decrease in proper protein intake as well as lack of exercise. It is extremely important as we age to be certain we participate in a sufficient level of exercise to maintain our muscle mass and to have an adequate intake of protein to keep our muscles strong.

According to the National Institute of Health, older adults should have a protein intake of 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. So if you weigh 165 pounds (75 kg—there are 2.2 pounds in one kilogram), your protein intake should be 60 grams of protein daily (75kg x 0.8g = 60). So where does the vitamin D come into the picture? Well the study from the Journal of the American Geriatric Society links the value of adequate Vitamin D to helping maintain the muscle mass and potentially help reduce falls for the elderly.

This leads us back to the basics of keeping our plates nutritious and following the MyPlate recommendations of a healthy dietary intake. If vitamin supplementation is something you would like to explore, discuss this with your physician.No matter your age, stay active, eat properly and enjoy a higher quality of life with a reduced risk for falls for today and in the future.

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