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Calcium and Vitamin D Supplements Might Not Reduce Risk of Fractures

Older adults taking calcium and vitamin D are no less apt to break their bones than are their peers who do not take the supplement, suggests a research review.

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Researchers looked at data from 33 priors trials that involved over 51,000 people who were 50 years of age or older who live within a community and not at nursing homes or other types of institutional settings.

The researchers found there was no fracture risk difference amongst people who received no treatment, a dummy pill or placebo, or the calcium and vitamin D alone or as a combination.

The time has come to stop taking vitamin D and calcium supplements for older adults in a community dwelling, said the lead author of the study Dr. Jia-Guo Zhao, who is a researcher in orthopedic surgery at China’s Tianjin Hospital.

Vitamin D aids the body in using calcium to support good bone health and many adults who are older have been advised to take both of the supplements. The daily intake that is recommended of vitamin D for the majority of adults is between 600 IU or 800 IU.

Zhao said the guidelines need to be changed. Researcher think improving lifestyle, including sufficient exercise and sunshine while making adjustments to the diet might be more beneficial that using supplements

Some people are able to receive enough vitamin D through being outside, and adults who are older can lower the risk of falling and fractures through maintaining healthy weight and doing exercises that are designed to improve coordination and balance.

When people consume daily doses of vitamin D or 1,000 IU or more, they run a risk of side effects that can be serious, particularly when they are used in combination with taking calcium. Some research done previously linked high Vitamin D does to more of a risk of fractures, falls, certain cancers, kidney stones and premature death.

For this current study, the researchers examined data from only clinical trials that assigned some people randomly to take calcium or vitamin D, alone or as a combination, and some people to receive just a placebo or nothing at all.

Every trial looked at risks of suffering spinal fractures, hip fractures or other forms of broken bones.

A lack of a link between vitamin D, calcium and risk of fracture was looked at in both men and women without taking into consideration supplement doses or other previous history of braking bones, said researchers.