Does Calcium Supplementation, with or without Vitamin D, Reduce Bone Loss and Fractures in Older Adults?

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The Medscape Medical Minute George D. Lundberg, MD This is The Medscape Medical Minute. I’m Dr. George Lundberg. We know that men and women over the age of 50 are prone to osteoporosis and increased risk of fractures. A group of investigators from New South Wales in Australia applied the tools of meta-analysis to address the continuing question of whether therapeutic oral calcium supplementation, with or without vitamin D, reduces bone mineral loss and risk of fracture. Twenty-nine randomized trials of people over the age of 50 met their rigorous criteria for inclusion. In their study, recently published in The Lancet, the results demonstrated a significant reduction of bone loss at the hip and in the spine. Plus, there was a 12% reduction of fractures of all kinds. The dose did matter. At least 1200 mg of calcium and 800 international units of vitamin D daily seemed best.[1] Ongoing studies may further elucidate any potential risks or additional benefits. I’m Dr. George Lundberg, reporting. Readers are encouraged to respond to George Lundberg, MD, Editor in Chief of The Medscape Journal of Medicine, for the editor’s eyes only or for possible publication as an actual Letter in the Medscape Journal via email: glundberg@medscape.net

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