Posted on Jul 31, 2012, 6 a.m.
Higher doses of Vitamin D may be the most beneficial approach to reduce bone fractures among older adults.
With the cost of treating a hip fracture at $26,912 (2007 estimate, by American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons), and the numbers of the aging population at-risk for such injuries on a steady rise, a number of scientists have turned their attention to assessing natural therapies that may help to reduce bone fracture risks. Bess Dawson-Hughes, from Tufts University (Massachusetts, USA), and colleagues completed a pooled analysis of 11 unrelated randomized clinical trials investigating vitamin D supplementation and fracture risk in more than 31,000 older adults. The team divided the subjects into quartiles ranging from 0 to 2,000 International Units (IUs) of daily vitamin D intake, and analyzed each participant's vitamin D supplementation within and independent of the study protocol, controlling for age, vitamin D blood levels at baseline, additional calcium supplementation and whether the person lived independently or under medical care. The researchers found that in the top quartile, there was a 30% reduction in hip fracture risk and a 14% reduced risk of fracturing other bones, compared to the control groups. Commenting that: "Taking between 800 IUs and 2,000 IUs of vitamin D per day significantly reduced the risk of most fractures, including hip, wrist and forearm in both men and women age 65 and older," the lead author reports that: "Importantly, we saw there was no benefit to taking Vitamin D supplements in doses below 800 IUs per day for fracture prevention."
Bischoff-Ferrari HA, Willett WC, Orav EJ, Lips P, Meunier PJ, Dawson-Hughes B., et al. “A pooled analysis of vitamin D dose requirements for fracture prevention.” N Engl J Med. 2012 Jul 5;367(1):40-9.