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Study Finds High Levels of Vitamin D Needed for Bone Density Drugs to Work

Posted Jun 06 2011 6:17pm

To fully optimize a drug therapy for osteoporosis and low bone mineral density (BMD), patients should maintain vitamin D levels above the limits recently recommended by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), according to a new study by researchers from Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. The study will be presented at the Endocrine Society’s Annual Meeting in Boston, June 4-7.

The study demonstrated that maintaining a circulating vitamin D level above 33 ng/ml is associated with a seven-fold greater likelihood of having a more favorable outcome with bisphosphonate therapy. Last November, the IOM issued recommendations that 25-Hydroxy vitamin D levels of 20-30 ng/ml were adequate for normal, healthy people.

“You are seven times more likely to respond to bisphosphonates if your 25-Hydroxy vitamin D level is 33 ng/ml and above. If you want to see a particular outcome from this treatment, then maybe 20 to 30 is not appropriate,” said Richard Bockman, M.D., Ph.D., chief of the Endocrine Service at Hospital for Special Surgery, who directed the study. “When you see a seven times greater effect, that is pretty impressive.”

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