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Sun-Sentinel / Thursday December 28, 2017
Do you take calcium and vitamin D to protect your bones? A new study says it doesn't help
If taking more vitamin and mineral supplements is part of your plan for a healthier new year, a new study may prompt you to reconsider. Researchers who scoured the medical literature for evidence that calcium and vitamin D pills could help prevent bone fractures came up empty. Their analysis focused on adults older than age 50 who lived on their own (that is, not in a nursing home or other type of residential care facility). Fractures are a serious health concern for this population — previous studies have found that about 40% of women in this age group will wind up with at least one “major osteoporotic fracture” at some point in their lives, and that among adults who break a hip, 20% died within a year of their injury. The researchers, led by Dr. Jia-Guo Zhao of Tianjin Hospital in northeastern China, combed through clinical trials, systematic reviews and other reports published in the last decade, since late 2006. They identified 51,145 people who were included in studies assessing the role of calcium and/or vitamin D in preventing bone fractures. Their findings appear in Tuesday’s edition of the Journal of the American Medical Assn. Among the 14 trials that pitted calcium supplements against either a placebo or no treatment, there was no statistically significant relationship between use of the mineral (in pill form) and the risk of suffering a hip fracture. Nor was there any clear link between calcium supplements and fractures involving the spine or other bones. Even when the researchers accounted for each study participant’s gender, past history of...Read More