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Vitamin D plus calcium may protect everyone from fracture

Posted May 28 2010 11:26am

Daily supplements which combine vitamin D and calcium may reduce the risk of fractures for menopausal women and everyone else, regardless of age or gender, say the results of a huge study.

Almost 70,000 people participated in the US and Europe and found that the vitamin-mineral combination significantly reduced fractures by 8 per cent, and hip fractures by 16 per cent, according to results of a pooled analysis published in the British Medical Journal.

However, supplemental vitamin D on its own in daily doses equivalent to 10 to 20 micrograms had no effects on fracture prevention, said the study, led by researchers at Copenhagen University in Denmark.

“What is important about this very large study is that goes a long way toward resolving conflicting evidence about the role of vitamin D, either alone or in combination with calcium, in reducing fractures,” said co-author of the study, Professor John Robbins from the University of California, Davis.

History of use

The combination of vitamin D and calcium has long been recommended to reduce the risk of bone fracture for menopausal women , particularly those at risk of or suffering from osteoporosis, which is estimated to affect about 75m people in Europe, USA and Japan.

The action of the nutrients is complimentary, with calcium supporting bone formation and repair, while vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium.

Indeed, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) accepted a health claim linking calcium and vitamin D to bone health in older women in 2008 following a disease-reduction claim application, made under article 14 of the European Union’s nutrition and health claims regulation and submitted by Abtei Pharma Vertriebs, a GlaxoSmithKline company.

The dossier claimed that chewing tablets with calcium and vitamin D improves bone density in women over the age of 50, and may reduce the risk of osteoporotic fractures and hip fractures. The proposed dosages were 1000mg calcium and 800 IU vitamin D3.

The new study reports that the bone boosting effects of vitamin D plus calcium may also extend to other age groups and to both sexes... read more
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