A New Study Suggests Vitamin D, Calcium Supplements May Not Reduce Fracture Risk

Older adults who take vitamin D and calcium are no less likely to break their hips or different bones than peers who don’t utilize these supplements, an examination review recommends.

Scientists examined information from 33 previous trials with an aggregate of more than 51,000 individuals aged 50 or more older who were living in the group, not in nursing homes or other institutional settings.

They found no difference in fracture risk among individuals who got no treatment, a placebo or dummy pill, or vitamin D and calcium alone or in combination. Lead study author Dr. Jia-Guo Zhao, a researcher in the department of orthopedic surgery at Tianjin Hospital in China “The time has come to stop taking calcium and vitamin D supplements for the group staying older adults”.

Vitamin D helps the body to utilize calcium to support bone health, and many older adults are advised to take one or both with respect to these supplements. The prescribed daily intake of vitamin D for most adults is 600 IU (international units), or 800 IU after age 70.

“The guidelines should be changed,” Zhao said by email. “We imagine that improving the way of lifestyle, getting enough exercise and enough sunshine, and adjusting the diet might be more important than taking these supplements.”

From spending time outside a few people can get enough vitamin D, and older adults can also lower their risk of falls and fractures by doing things like maintaining a healthy weight or doing exercises intended to improve balance and coordination.

When individuals take daily vitamin D doses of 1,000 IU or higher, however, they risk serious side effects, especially when utilized as a part of the combination with calcium. Some previous research has connected high dosages of vitamin D to an increased risk of falls, fractures, kidney stones, certain cancers and sudden death.

In clinical trials, researchers examined data that randomly assigned some people to take vitamin D or calcium, alone or in combination, and some individuals to get a placebo or no treatment at all. All of the trials looked at the risk of hip fractures, spinal fractures or different kinds of broken bones.

According to the JAMA, researchers report, in both men and women the lack of associations between calcium, vitamin D and fracture risk was seen, regardless of supplement dose or any past history of fractures.

One limitation of the investigation is that some of the trials in the examination did exclude pre-treatment measurements of vitamin D blood levels, which may have influenced how much the supplements impacted fracture risk. Some of the trials additionally were not high-quality experiments, the authors note.

Despite the fact that severe calcium or vitamin D deficiencies can contribute to loss of bone density and an increased risk of fractures, individuals with this problem are typically too sick to be in any way incorporated into clinical trials, noted Dr. Kurt Kennel, a specialist in endocrinology, metabolism and nutrition at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

“A key message which isn’t new however reinforced by this examination is that menopausal women and older men with osteoporosis should not equate calcium as well as vitamin D supplementation with adequate treatment to reduce the risk of osteoporotic fractures,” Kennel, who wasn’t involved with the study, said by email.

Osteoporosis, or loss bone density, occurs naturally with age and can also be accelerated when women go through menopause.

Kennel advised, at the point when individuals do require more vitamin D or calcium, they should look at their diet first.

“Pretty much every guideline states that dietary calcium is the initial approach to obtaining sufficient calcium, subsequently in such manner, no changes to guidelines are required,” Kennel said.

But individuals who already take supplements shouldn’t stop without speaking to a doctor.

“Routine initiation of calcium and/or vitamin D supplementation in older women and men for prevention of fracture should not be advised,” Kennel added.

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