Heike Bischoff-Ferrari from the University of Zurich and colleagues examined data from 2,426 patients. They found that a daily vitamin D supplement of 700-1,000 IU a day reduced the risk of falling for people over 65 years old by 19 per cent.
The researchers concluded: 'A daily intake of at least 700 IU supplemental vitamin D is warranted in all individuals aged 65 and older.'
The benefit was not affected by gender or age.
However, vitamin D3 may be more effective than vitamin D2 at preventing falls, the researchers found.
'Doses of 700 IU to 1,000 IU supplemental vitamin D a day could reduce falls by 19 per cent or by up to 26 per cent with vitamin D3,' Professor Bischoff-Ferrari and colleagues said.
'This benefit may not depend on additional calcium supplementation, was significant within two to five months of treatment, and extended beyond 12 months,' they added.