Updated 28 May 2014

Vitamin D alone doesn't guard against bone fractures

Daily supplements of calcium and vitamin D reduce the risk of fractures in women and men of all ages, even if they've suffered previous fractures, but vitamin D supplements alone don't offer significant protection, a new study has found.


Researchers analysed data from 68,517 people, average age 70, who took part in seven studies that looked at the effect vitamin D or vitamin D plus calcium had on reducing fractures.

The analysis revealed that vitamin D given alone in doses of 10 micrograms to 20 micrograms per day doesn't prevent fractures. However, calcium and vitamin D given together reduce the risk of hip fractures, total fractures and possibly vertebral fractures.

The study, published online in January 2012 in the British Medical Journal called for additional studies of vitamin D, especially vitamin D given at higher doses without calcium.

There's a growing consensus that a combination of calcium and vitamin D is more effective than vitamin D alone in preventing nonvertebral fractures, Opinder Sahota, of Queen's Medical Center in Nottingham, England, wrote in an accompanying editorial.

Further research is need to determine the most effective dose, treatment duration and method of taking the calcium/vitamin D combination, Sahota said.

Read more:

Everything you need to know about calcium supplementation
Check your bone health - personal experience explainedA combination of calcium plus vitamin D during weight loss in overweight and obese women could improve blood cholesterol levels


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Healthy Bones

Tereza is the CEO of the National Osteoporosis Foundation and worked as a Nursing Sister in the field of Osteoporosis for 18 years prior to her appointment with the Foundation. She used to be the Educational Officer for the Foundation and co-wrote the patient brochure on Osteoporosis. Read more

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