Calcium, vitamin D supplements may not lower fracture risk in elderly

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Taking calcium and vitamin D supplements does not reduce the risk of hip fractures and other broken bones in the elderly with brittle bones, a study found.

Daniel Fabricant, president of the Natural Products Association, which represents manufacturers and retailers of dietary supplements, told the Washington Post the research makes its conclusions with "too broad a brush" and said the new study had limited information on the dosages involved. Scientists continue to tackle one of the most controversial relevant questions: Do calcium and vitamin D supplements actually help protect the bones? "And people who live in nursing homes or assisted living facilities were not part of it, which means there is a lot missing".

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Questions about the role of calcium and vitamin D supplements have been raised for decades. It is hard to expect from older people to do enough regular exercise and get adequate sunshine or even adjust their diet accordingly.

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We suggest you bulk up on these 5 foods to get your required dose of Vitamin D. "Generalized recommendations relying on this study should be mindful that further reductions in calcium and vitamin D consumption may exacerbate these public health concerns", she said.

The researchers also noted that the some of the trials in the analysis didn't include pre-treatment measurements of vitamin D blood levels, which might have influenced how much the supplements impacted fracture risk.

Jia-Guo Zhao of Tianjin Hospital in China, and co-authors did a meta-analysis of the studies. "Unfortunately, the WHI data has been widely acknowledged as having limitations of its own having to do with subjects not taking the supplements as directed by the protocol, as well as those who took calcium and vitamin D supplements on their own (outside the protocol) before and during the study". Based on subgroup analysis, the findings were generally consistent no matter the calcium or vitamin D dose, sex, fracture history, dietary calcium intake, and baseline serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration.

"CRN recommends that people discuss their individual needs for calcium and vitamin D with their healthcare practitioners", she advised.

The researchers looked at 51,145 participants from 33 clinical trials and found that there was not a significant difference in the risk of hip fractures for those who used calcium supplements, vitamin D supplements, or both, compared to those who took a placebo or no supplements at all.

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