Calcium and vitamin D do not prevent bone fractures, new study finds

Avatar By Delila James | 3 years ago

People who take calcium and vitamin D supplements to protect against bone fractures may want to rethink the strategy, according to a comprehensive new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Researchers, led by Dr. Jia-Guo Zhao of Tianjin Hospital in northeastern China, reviewed and analyzed a large number of clinical trials and other studies published in the last ten years for evidence of the efficacy of calcium and/or vitamin D in preventing bone fractures, according to the Los Angeles Times. A total of 51,145 people were included in the studies.

In 14 clinical trials that compared calcium supplements to a placebo or no treatment, no statistically significant relationship existed between the use of calcium tablets and the risk of bone fractures. This held true even when variables, such as the participant’s gender, past history of fractures, and amount of calcium consumed, were taken into account.

Another 17 trials looked at the connection between vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium, and a reduction in bone fractures. Again, no statistically significant connection was found.

An additional 13 trials looked at people who took a combination of calcium and vitamin D. Once more, the researchers could find no statistically significant link between taking the supplement and a reduced risk of bone fractures.

One possible exception to the new findings involve women on hormone therapy, a group the researchers did not include in their study. An earlier report based on data from the long-term Women’s Health Initiative found a lower risk of fractures for this subset of women who used calcium and vitamin D supplements.

But for most people, the new findings “do not support the routine use of these supplements,” the authors write.