A simple and cheap nutrition supplement can reduce falls amongst the elderly, according to a study. The two-year study was based on 1,200 residents at 20 old age homes. The dairy based supplement was added to their food.
The supplement powder is made predominantly from proteins and minerals in milk and is high in protein, calcium and Vitamin D. It can be added to common foods such as cakes, quiches, and sauces.
Researchers, based at Austin Health, saw the rate of falls significantly drop in those who took the supplement, especially in those who had a history of falls.
Sandra Iuliano-Burns of the University of Melbourne said: "Some of the benefit may result directly from slowing bone loss. However it is also possible that the supplement impacts other physical aspects such as muscle strength and the ability to balance. If residents fall over less often they are less likely to have a fracture."
Falls in the elderly and the consequent bone fractures and other injuries often result in greater disability and the need for more intensive aged care support, said a university release.
The research findings support the recommendations in a joint position statement on calcium and bone health published in the Medical Journal of Australia.