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Calcium, vitamin D supplements not associated with lower risk of fractures

Bottom Line: Supplements containing calcium, vitamin D or both did not appear to protect against hip fracture and other bone breaks in older adults.

Why The Research Is Interesting: Practice guidelines recommend calcium and vitamin D supplements for older people to prevent fractures in those with osteoporosis; previous studies have come to mixed conclusions about an association between supplements and fracture risk.

Who and What: 51,145 adults over 50 who lived in their communities and not institutions, such as nursing homes and residential care facilities; the adults participated in 33 randomized clinical trials comparing supplement use (calcium, vitamin D or both) with placebo or no treatment and new fractures.

How (Study Design): This was a meta-analysis. A meta-analysis combines the results of multiple studies identified in a systematic review and quantitatively summarizes the overall association between the same exposure (supplements containing calcium, vitamin D or both) and outcomes (fracture) across all studies.

Authors: Jia-Guo Zhao, M.D., Tianjin Hospital, Tianjin, China, and coauthors

Results: Supplements were not associated with less risk for new fractures, regardless of the dose, the sex of the patient, their fracture history, calcium intake in their diet or baseline vitamin D blood concentrations.

Study Limitations: Some trials included in the analysis didn't test baseline vitamin D blood concentration for all participants; the results for some subgroups might have been different if all individuals were tested.

Study Conclusions: These findings do not support routine use of supplements containing calcium, vitamin D, or both by older community-dwelling adults for prevention of fracture.

Note: This information is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified healthcare professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from research. The view expressed here are not necessarily those of the ICAA, we encourage you to make your own health and business decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified professional.

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