Bone Injury Revealed in An X-ray
Dr. Alice Newton, medical director at Massachusetts General Hospital's Child Protection Team, points to a broken bone revealed in an x-ray of a child at the hospital in Boston, Massachusetts April 2, 2009. Reuters/Brian Snyder

Contrary to prevailing medical belief that Vitamin D supplements help prevent fractures, a new study suggests that too much vitamin D can have the opposite effect.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Zurich, has found that those who take higher doses of vitamin D are more prone to falls and fractures, reports UPI. In the study, people who took lower doses of vitamin D had fewer falls and seemed to have been better protected against fractures.

Evidently, either too much or too little vitamin D negatively affects body balance and function, according to the study published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

The researchers expected to see more benefits from higher doses of vitamin D, but “contrary to expectations, we found that actually the lowest dose was the most advantageous for any of the outcomes we looked at," Dr. Heike Bischoff-Ferrari, chair of geriatrics and aging research at the University Hospital Zurich, told Time.

The study involved 200 men and women over the age of 70 with a history of prior fall. The participants were divided into three treatment groups – low-dose group who were given 24,000 IU of vitamin D, another group given 60,000 IU and the third group given 24,000 IU of vitamin D and 300 microgrammes of a broken-down form of the vitamin called calcifediol.

After giving these dosages on a monthly basis from December 2009 to May 2010, the researchers followed up with the participants for 12 months. During this period, they found that 66.9 percent of the second group and 66.1 percent of the third experienced a fall. In contrast, only 47.9 percent of the 24,000 IU group suffered a fall.

The study findings indicate that there may be a window of vitamin D levels that boost muscle and bone strength. The risk of falls and fractures seems to increase both below and above this magic range.