Practice guidelines recommend calcium and vitamin D supplements for older people to prevent fractures in those with osteoporosis; previous studies have come to mixed conclusions about an association between supplements and fracture risk.
‘Use of supplements that contain calcium or vitamin D to not reduce the risk of fractures in the elderly.’
About 51,145 adults over 50 who lived in their communities and not institutions, such as nursing homes and residential care facilities; the adults participated in 33 randomized clinical trials comparing supplement use (calcium, vitamin D or both) with placebo or no treatment and new fractures.
This was a meta-analysis. A meta-analysis combines the results of multiple studies identified in a systematic review and quantitatively summarizes the overall association between the same exposure (supplements containing calcium, vitamin D or both) and outcomes (fracture) across all studies.
The authors of this study were Jia-Guo Zhao, M.D., Tianjin Hospital, Tianjin, China, and coauthors.
The results revealed that the supplements were not associated with less risk for new fractures, regardless of the dose, the sex of the patient, their fracture history, calcium intake in their diet or baseline vitamin D blood concentrations.
The limitations were that some trials included in the analysis didn't test baseline vitamin D blood concentration for all participants; the results for some subgroups might have been different if all individuals were tested.
The findings of this study do not support routine use of supplements containing calcium, vitamin D, or both by older community-dwelling adults for prevention of fracture.