Combining vitamin D, calcium supplements can reduce fracture risk for older adults

January 12, 2012

A combination of vitamin D and calcium supplementation can reduce the risk of fractures in older adults, according to a study published in the December 20, 2011, issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

A combination of vitamin D and calcium supplementation can reduce the risk of fractures for older adults, according to a study published in the December 20, 2011, issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

“Combined vitamin D and calcium supplementation can reduce fracture risk, but the effects may be smaller among community-dwelling older adults than among institutionalized elderly persons,” wrote lead author Mei Chung, PhD, MPH.

The same meta-analysis found that daily vitamin D or calcium supplementation did not affect mortality, cardiovascular disease, cancer mortality, or cancer incidence in older adults.

“Evidence is not sufficiently robust to draw conclusions regarding the benefits or harms of vitamin D supplementation for the prevention of cancer,” the authors stated.

However, the researchers did find a 6% reduced risk for colorectal cancer with every 10-nmol/L increase in blood D concentration, but no statistically significant dose-response relationships for prostate and breast cancer.

The study included long-term follow-up of patients in randomized controlled trial from 21 orthopedic centers in the United Kingdom. Participants included 5,292 people who were at least 70 years old with previous low-trauma fractures.

The participants were randomly allocated 800 IUs of daily vitamin D3, 1,000 mg of calcium, both supplements, or placebo for 24 to 62 months. Patients had a follow-up of 3 years after intervention.