Symposium details Calcium-Vitamin D fracture potential

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Vitamin d, Osteoporosis

As research continues into the role of calcium and vitamin D in maintaining bone health, a new study suggests a possible link between their combined supplementation and reduced hip fracture rates in the elderly.

At the European Symposium on Calcified Tissue that took place in Vienna on Wednesday, researchers suggested that daily consumption of both calcium and vitamin D was linked to a 20 per cent fall in the rates of hip damage in older people.

Professor Bo Abrahamsen, from the Copenhagen University Hospital Gentofte in Denmark, used the symposium to highlight findings from a collaberative study analysing seven trials on consumption of vitamin D and calcium at low-level doses.

He says that the completed analysis on display at the symposium, which has not been seen by, was yet to appear in any peer reviewed journals, but was under submission.

D for doubt

In other recent research, Heike Bischoff-Ferrari from the University of Zurich, suggested in the Archives of Internal Medicine​ that several trials have cast doubt on the benefits of vitamin D​ and fracture risk. Despite the doubt, the researchers called for ongoing research into the specific potential of the vitamin, especially in regards to doasage.

“The greater fracture reduction with a higher received dose or higher achieved 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels for both any non-vertebral fractures and hip fractures suggests that higher doses of vitamin D should be explored in future research to optimize anti-fracture efficacy,”​ wrote Bischoff-Ferrari and her co-workers.

“Also, it is possible that greater benefits may be achieved with earlier initiation of vitamin D supplementation and longer duration of use. Our results do not support use of low-dose vitamin D with or without calcium in the prevention of fractures among older individuals,”​ they added.

Hip potential

However, Abrahamsen used his presentation this week to detail analysis carried out with his fellow researchers, which accounted for 68,500 patients aged between 47 to 107 years of age, looking at how daily calcium and vitamin D intakes affect development of hip fractures.

“After about 16 months, the reduction in hip fracture rates by 20 per cent was seen in people who took vitamin D (10ug; 400 IU) and calcium (1000 mg) together, regardless of age, gender and fracture history,”​ states the symposium research.

Abrahamsen says the analysis follows on from a study published in the Lancet suggesting calcium was required alongside vitamin D to have an impact on hip fracture rates.

“While we did not set out to compare vitamin D against vitamin D/calcium [combined], a statistical analysis showed that the response to treatment was significantly different between these study types, creating a need for assessing them separately,”​ he says. “Only the latter studies showed effect.”

Diet issues

Debate has also raged over the potential nutrition benefits of vitamins and minerals when consumed as part of balanced diet compared to straight supplementation.

Abrahamsen says that the analysis on show at the symposium has not accounted for this factor. He states that due to the research’s focus on numerous studies, which used different methods of data collection, making additional conclusions based on dietary intake would have been difficult.

More information can be found on the Archives of Internal Medicine​ study mentioned in this report by clicking here​.

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