Experts warn results of new vitamin D and calcium supplement study may cause confusion
A new study that suggests vitamin D and calcium supplements do not reduce the risk of bone fractures in healthy older people may cause confusion, bone health experts warn.
The study, which was published in JAMA, looked at the results of 33 research trials involving over 51,000 people and concluded there is no reduction in fractures in people aged 50 years or over living in the community who take the supplements.
Experts are worried that many people who need calcium or vitamin supplements may stop taking them as a result of the study findings. And some healthcare professionals may now be reluctant to prescribe or advise supplementation.
“The study showed what we already knew about vitamin D and calcium supplements, but it is important that people who need supplements do not stop taking them,” leading expert Prof Roger Francis says. “There are many situations when supplementation is very useful – either because people can’t get enough through their diet; they aren’t getting sufficient vitamin D through sunlight exposure or they need supplementation to support their osteoporosis drug treatments.”
A recent statement on the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research urges patients and healthcare professionals to approach the findings with caution:
“The results of this study do not apply to people with osteoporosis or other metabolic bone diseases or to people taking bone protective medications. For them, adequate calcium intake and vitamin D status needs to be ensured for their medications to be effective in preventing fractures.”
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