Calcium and Vitamin D may reduce the risk of fractures
Calcium supplements, or calcium and vitamin D taken in combination, may reduce the risk for bone fracture and bone density loss in older people, provided the supplements are taken regularly and in large enough doses.
A review of 29 random trials, including more than 63,000 men and women older than 50 found that the risk for fracture could be reduced by 12 per cent with calcium and vitamin D supplements. The rate of bone loss was reduced by about 0.5 of 1 per cent at the hip and 1.9 per cent at the spine. Fracture risk was reduced by nearly one-quarter in studies in which people took their supplements conscientiously.
The review, published in The Lancet, found that the effect was best with doses of 1,200 milligrams of calcium and 800 international units of vitamin D. The recommended dietary allowance for calcium in people over 50 is 1,200 milligrams, but the recommendation for vitamin D is 400 international units for people 50 to 70 and 600 for those 71 and older.
“Anyone over 50, especially postmenopausal women, should see their family doctor and discuss the issue of taking calcium supplementation,” said Benjamin M.P. Tang, the lead author and a researcher at the University of Western Sydney in Australia. “It’s always better to have overall health assessed before undertaking supplements.” — NYT