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Calcium and vitamin D pills do not protect against broken bones

Calcium and vitamin D pills do not protect against broken bones


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Dietary supplements: Medical professionals are studying the protective effect against broken bones

At the beginning of next year, many people plan to pay more attention to their health. The intake of nutritional supplements with vitamins and minerals can also be observed frequently. Dietary supplements with calcium and vitamin D are said to prevent broken bones in the elderly, for example. However, the results of a new study show that such supplements do not help protect against broken bones.

Scientists from Tianjin Hospital in China looked at the effects of taking supplements on the likelihood of breaking bones. The researchers found that calcium and vitamin D in dietary supplements do not lead to better protection against broken bones. The results of their study were published in the medical journal "JAMA".

The investigation focused on people over the age of 50

The scientists' analysis focused on adults who were older than 50 years and did not live in a kind of nursing home. The doctors found that around 40 percent of women in this age group experienced a major osteoporotic fracture at some point in their lives. It was also found that about 20 percent of adults with hip fractures died within a year of being injured. Fractures are a serious health problem, especially for older people, the experts say.

Data from more than 50,000 subjects considered

The researchers led by Dr. Jia-Guo Zhao for her investigation the results of various clinical studies and other medical reports. They identified a total of 51,145 people who participated in studies evaluating the effects of calcium and vitamin D supplements in preventing broken bones.

Is taking calcium in tablet form better protection against fractures?

Preparations with calcium were used in 14 studies and it was examined whether these products were more beneficial for hip fractures than taking a placebo. In addition, a comparison was made as to whether completely abandoning treatment was more disadvantageous than taking the dietary supplements. The authors found that there was no statistically significant connection between the use of calcium (in tablet form) and a reduced risk of hip fracture. In addition, there was no clear connection between preparations with calcium and fractures of the spine or other bones. After considering factors such as gender, history of broken bones, and the amount of calcium taken, no signs were found that taking the supplements was helpful, the researchers concluded.

What influence do supplements with vitamin D have on the risk of fracture?

The role of vitamin D was examined in a further 17 studies. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium. But here, too, the scientists found no statistically significant connection between the use of dietary supplements and the risk of suffering a hip fracture. The same was true for fractures on the spine and other parts of the body, the experts add.

Dietary supplements with vitamin D can even have a negative effect

In their investigation, the researchers also found that people with at least 20 nanograms of vitamin D per milliliter of blood had a higher risk of hip fracture from adding vitamin D supplements. The same could be observed in people who only took high doses of vitamin D supplements once a year, the scientists report.

How does a combined supplement with calcium and vitamin D work?

Finally, 13 studies were analyzed in which people received a combined supplement with calcium and vitamin D. Again, there was no statistically significant relationship between the use of supplements and the risk of any type of fracture. Thousands of participants from this last group took part in the so-called Women's Health Initiative. Previous research based on data from this initiative suggested that calcium and vitamin D supplements could reduce the risk of fractures. However, only for women who underwent hormone therapy after their menopause. To get a more accurate picture of the effects of supplements on the risk of fractures, Dr. Zhao and his colleagues do not have data on women who are on hormone therapy.

There is still a possibility that calcium and vitamin D supplements could have a positive impact on people in nursing homes or other homes, the authors say. Such people are more likely to have osteoporosis because, for example, they eat poorly and receive less radiation from the sun. In older adults living independently, however, the results clearly show that the routine use of such supplements does not lead to better protection against fractures. (as)

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