Vitamin D plus calcium and mortality among elderly

July 5, 2012
From staff reports
From staff reports

Vitamin D plus calcium supplementation consistently reduced mortality among elderly patients compared with vitamin D supplementation alone, according to a study published online May 17 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

Vitamin D plus calcium (CaD) supplementation consistently reduced mortality among elderly patients compared with vitamin D supplementation alone, according to a study published online May 17 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

Using pooled data from randomized controlled trials, Lars Rejnmark, MD, PhD, of the Department of Endocrinology and Internal Medicine at Aarhus University, and colleagues performed individual patient data and trial level meta-analyses to assess mortality among patients randomized to receive either vitamin D alone or vitamin D with calcium.

The researchers found that, among 70,528 patients with a median age of 70 years, vitamin D with calcium reduced risk of mortality, whereas there was no association between vitamin D alone and mortality risk.

The patients were randomized to receive CaD (27,345), vitamin D alone (7,771), or placebo and no vitamin D (35,412). Over a 36-month follow-up period, the researchers noted that restricting the analysis to studies with CaD supplementation reduced the risk of death significantly among patients randomized to CaD (HR=0.91; 95% CI, 0.84–0.98); however, mortality was only significantly reduced in patients who received a daily dose of 10 µg of vitamin D in combination with calcium (HR=0.90; 95% CI, 0.83–0.99). The findings were supported by a trial-level meta-analysis, which demonstrated similar findings.

“Accordingly, calcium with vitamin D supplementation to elderly participants is overall not harmful to survival, and may have beneficial effects on general health,” the authors concluded. However, they noted that further study should investigate the possible interrelationships between the findings.