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Vitamin D Plus Calcium Guards Against Fractures

But the vitamin alone doesn't offer significant protection, researchers say

TUESDAY, Jan. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Daily supplements of calcium and vitamin D reduce the risk of fractures in women and men of all ages, even if they've suffered previous fractures, but vitamin D supplements alone don't offer significant protection, a new study has found.

Researchers analyzed data from 68,517 people, average age 70, who took part in seven studies that looked at the effect vitamin D or vitamin D plus calcium had on reducing fractures.

The analysis revealed that vitamin D given alone in doses of 10 micrograms to 20 micrograms per day doesn't prevent fractures. However, calcium and vitamin D given together reduce the risk of hip fractures, total fractures and possibly vertebral fractures.

The study, published online Jan. 12 in BMJ, called for additional studies of vitamin D, especially vitamin D given at higher doses without calcium.

There's a growing consensus that a combination of calcium and vitamin D is more effective than vitamin D alone in preventing nonvertebral fractures, Opinder Sahota, of Queen's Medical Center in Nottingham, England, wrote in an accompanying editorial.

Further research is need to determine the most effective dose, treatment duration and method of taking the calcium/vitamin D combination, Sahota said.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases has more about calcium and vitamin D.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: BMJ, news release, Jan. 12, 2010

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