Many people take vitamins or find other ways to boost their intake of vitamin D or calcium based on the notion that they strengthen bones. But a research team has found that the use of supplements containing these substances did not make “a significant difference in the risk of hip fractures.”
The researchers analyzed clinical tests involving 51,145 participants older than 50 years, some of whom used supplements containing calcium, vitamin D or both.
Their conclusion: “There was no significant association of calcium or vitamin D with risk of hip fracture compared with placebo or no treatment.”
As a result, they said, “These findings do not support the routine use of these supplements in community-dwelling older adults.”
In a study published on Tuesday in the journal JAMA, the researchers noted that preventing such fractures is a major public health goal and that previous studies have reached mixed conclusions.
About 40 percent of 50-year-old women will have major osteoporotic fractures during their lifetimes, with hip fractures generally considered the most serious of them. Patients may require social and nursing care, which can be a financial burden on them, their families and the public health system.
Health guidelines often recommend calcium and vitamin D supplements, though this and other research studies have not consistently found them useful to prevent fractures.