Study: Vitamin D Supplements Don’t Protect Against Fractures

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Keeping bones strong may take more than popping a few pills, according to the latest research.

Scientists from the University of Auckland in Auckland, New Zealand reviewed 23 studies involving 4,082 healthy volunteers with an average age of 59 and report that those who took vitamin D supplements for about two years did not have significantly greater bone density or lower risk of osteoporosis than those who didn’t take them.

That confirms what the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force found earlier this year in its review of the data — that adding 400 IU of vitamin D and 1000 mg of calcium to a healthy diet did not lower the risk of fractures for post menopausal women. Because vitamin D pulls calcium, a building block of bone, from the intestines, doctors have long assumed that urging the elderly to take supplements would help them to maintain healthy levels of vitamin D, which tend wane with age. And data suggesting that about 57% of American adults are deficient in the vitamin only gave the advice more urgency.

But all of that additional D doesn’t seem to be making bones any stronger, say the researchers, who published their findings in the Lancet. For healthy individuals, at least, who are not suffering from osteoporosis, adding more vitamin D to what they are getting from their daily diet — or from sunlight, which the skin transforms into active forms of D — isn’t necessary. Recent studies have also suggested that estimates of vitamin D deficiency may have been misleading, since scientists measured different forms of the vitamin in the body. “Our data suggest that targeting low-dose vitamin D supplements only to individuals who are likely to be deficient could free up substantial resources that could be better used elsewhere in health care,” study author Ian Reid said in a statement. To maintain strong bones, for most adults it’s enough t to take in at least 600 IU of vitamin D daily, from foods such as fatty fish and dairy products. and for the elderly to consume around 800 IU of vitamin D a day.

5 comments
TallPaul
TallPaul

Bone density is determined by inflammation due to increased consumption of omega 6 fatty acids.  Linoleic acid/arachidonic acid are essential fatty acids that are the building blocks for inflammatory hormones, prostaglandins and leukotrienes.  The more you eat, the more silent inflammation you have.  Rheumatologists treat osteoporosis.  Rheums focus on inflammation, although not very well.  Very clear, but the medical community is not capable of understanding how inflammation causes chronic disease like osteoporosis and how your diet is responsible. 

franklyme100
franklyme100

i have learned that one needs to take Vit K-2 along w/Vit D-3 so D-3 is delivered to the bones.  D-3 also helps build immunity.

last paragraph:  dairy products?  let's get over it, folks.  that is not going to help build bones. this study could have been done anywhere in the world and i would not be surprised if pharm industry paid for it.  they cannot tolerate individuals taking supplement that is not a prescription.  we have to be our own doctors!

T_T_
T_T_

Completely ridiculous study. Only one fact was provided...get your vitamin D from sunshine. Other than that the entire study is a farce. Let's look at it scientifically. The study was based on 23 different studies with 4000 people. That's a little over 150 people per study on average!

The recommend dosage of Vitamin D is from the 70's. That's another big joke. Any reputable MD, dietician, and dermatologist will tell you that you need a minimum of 400 and at least 1000 is recommended. 

mary.waterton
mary.waterton

@T_T_ 

I agree big time. Dr. Holick, MD, has shown that nearly all of us are severely short vitamin d. You can go as high as 50,000 IU's per day with no ill effects and it doesn't become toxic until like 500,000 IU's or more. So it's very difficult to overdose on vitamin d.

But no matter how much vitamin d you take, it's not going to prevent osteoporosis and fractures without exercise ... something people of all ages seem to hate doing.