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Calcium and vitamin D prevent fractures

03/03/2010 - Articles

Calcium and vitamin D prevent fractures

By: Susan Aldridge, medical journalist, PhD

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Vitamin D plays a role in preventing the risk of fractures according to scientific evidence. However, some studies have shown it has no effect, so we need to know more about which dose of vitamin D to use, who can benefit most, and whether it is more effective when used with calcium. The DIPART (vitamin D Individual Patient Analysis of Randomized Trials) study aims to settle this question by looking at studies of vitamin D alone and vitamin D plus calcium. They found seven such trials to analyze, covering over 68,000 older people.

The DIPART team found that vitamin D, either high or low dose, combined with calcium, reduces the risk of fracture, including hip fracture, independently of age, sex or the existence of previous fractures. But vitamin D alone, given in doses of 10 to 20 micrograms a day, is not effective in preventing fractures. The authors point out that this analysis does not directly compare vitamin D with vitamin D plus calcium. It compares the impact of taking the supplements (vitamin D alone or with calcium) with no treatment. The findings will be very useful in helping older people avoid fractures, but there is still more to be learned on optimal dose of both vitamin D and calcium to get the maximum benefit. In the meantime, do not take vitamin D on its own in the hope of avoiding fractures – you need calcium as well. Talk to your doctor about which supplements are recommended, in the light of what we now know about vitamin D, to keep safe and avoid fractures.

 

Source:

The DIPART (vitamin D individual Patient Analysis of Randomized Trials) Group Patient level pooled analysis of 68,500 patients from seven major vitamin D fracture trials in US and Europe BMJ Online First 13th January 2010 doi:10.1136/bmj.b5463

 

Created on: 03/03/2010
Reviewed on: 03/03/2010

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