home
RSS
Study: Vitamin D lowers bone-fracture risk only at high doses
July 4th, 2012
05:01 PM ET

Study: Vitamin D lowers bone-fracture risk only at high doses

If you're wondering whether to take a vitamin D supplement to keep your bones healthy, it's understandable if you - and even your doctor - are at a loss.

Vitamin D is essential for bone health, but the research on supplements has been inconsistent. Some studies have concluded that vitamin D supplements can lower the risk of bone fractures, while others suggest the pills provide little to no benefit.

The latest study on the topic, published today in the New England Journal of Medicine, may help clear up some of the confusion.

The study, a re-analysis of data from 11 clinical trials comprising more than 31,000 people age 65 and older, found that vitamin D supplements - which are often combined with calcium supplements - are associated with a lower risk of bone fracture only when taken at high doses.

Health.com: How to fight osteoporosis

Overall, 4% of the study participants fractured their hip during the studies, and 12% fractured a bone elsewhere in their body (not including vertebrae).

Taking less than about 800 international units (IU) of vitamin D per day, with or without calcium, had no effect on bone-fracture risk when compared with taking a placebo or a calcium supplement alone. Taking 800 IU or more, by contrast, decreased the risk of hip fracture by 30% and the risk of other bone fractures by 14%.

"A 30% reduction in hip fracture with an inexpensive and safe intervention such as vitamin D has enormous public health implications," says lead author Dr. Heike Bischoff-Ferrari, director of the Center on Aging and Mobility at the University of Zurich, in Switzerland.

Health.com: 12 ways to get your daily vitamin D

The new findings go a long way toward explaining why past studies on vitamin D and fracture risk have produced conflicting results, says Dr. Robert P. Heaney, an osteoporosis researcher and professor of endocrinology at Creighton University, in Omaha, Nebraska.

"All of the problems with previous studies come from a very modest dose of vitamin D," says Heaney, who wrote an editorial that accompanies the study. "If you don't give [study participants] enough of the vitamin D, then you won't see an effect."

Should people over age 65 start taking at least 800 IU of vitamin D each day? Not necessarily. Although Bischoff-Ferrari and her colleagues suggest a daily supplement may be beneficial, other groups have stopped short of making the same recommendation.

The Institute of Medicine, an influential nonprofit organization, recommends that people in their 70s or older consume at least 800 IU of vitamin D per day. But that vitamin D can come from fortified foods - not to mention sunlight, which naturally spurs the body to produce the vitamin.

Health.com: 11 foods for healthy bones

And in June, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), a panel of independent experts that advises the federal government on preventive care, issued draft guidelines saying there is too little evidence to recommend vitamin D supplements for the prevention of bone fractures.

To complicate matters further, the dose needed to promote bone health appears to vary from person to person depending on his or her baseline vitamin D levels, Heaney says.

Bischoff-Ferrari says her team's analysis - "the best evidence we have today," she says - may merit a revision to the USPSTF recommendations, which have yet to be finalized and are open to public comment through July 12.

"I do think that our results can support a change in these recommendations for seniors," she says.

Copyright Health Magazine 2011


soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. Ragini Sharma

    Hi,
    I agree with you, Vitamin D is very imp for our body..thank you for sharing such nice info here. Vitamin D is very important for ladies in their growing age.
    |joint repalcement India

    July 5, 2012 at 03:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. CLS88

    "High dose" vitamin D?

    In reality less than 2000 i.u. daily is practically meaningless.

    In NO WAY does 400-800 i.u. reflect evolutionary levels of vitamin D produced daily.

    Humans made/make LOTS of vitamin D when outdoors. Prior to the last 40 years (and certainly prior to the Industrial Revolution) we were exposed to the sun 10-20 X more than current.

    "Vitamin" D is the human body's most potent steroid hormone, when metabolized. No other natural molecule does more to maintain, and repair, the human genome.

    July 5, 2012 at 09:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. KS

    Vitamin D is definitely incredibly important for bone health. I've been hearing a lot about vitamin D supplementation lately- I recently read a blog post on the topic that I thought was interesting. It discussed a recent study suggesting that lower levels of vitamin D may be associated with an increased risk for disability. It's on the Natural Standard blog: http://blog.naturalstandard.com/natural_standard_blog/2012/06/low-vitamin-d-levels-linked-to-increased-disability-risk.html

    July 5, 2012 at 12:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Ifeco

    What about Osteomalacia?

    July 5, 2012 at 15:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. yohana14

    This is a very important fact! I didn't know it aids in bone health. Vitamin D is one of the most useful vitamins but under-recognized my mostly young adults. Thanks for sharing!

    July 5, 2012 at 22:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. linda davis

    I have had 3 test for vitamin D.. I have to take 10,000 units a day in order to keep my levels in the normal range.. It is inexpensive and 2 small pills..if it works it is worth it.

    July 6, 2012 at 08:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. missy

    just sitting in the sun 15 min a day can help with you vitamin D.

    July 6, 2012 at 13:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. jammies

    Good grief – 800 units a day of D3 is such a tiny dose it's hardly worth taking. Get your D3 levels tested and dose with a good quality oil based D3 supplement until you are in the upper half of the "normal" range. I take 2000-5000 units a day. Also take some Vitamin K2 (not K1) with your D3. This combo is perfect for strengthening bones.

    July 7, 2012 at 00:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. pauls boutique bag

    Welcome to take a look at great pauls boutique bag, it is flawless in every detail. Hundreds of people come to paul's boutique uk every day to get fabulous paul's boutique bag. Paul boutique bags are absolutely a must have for girls and ladies who want to show outstanding charm. Pauls boutique side bags are also very practical. Pauls boutique store choose luxurious fabric to manufacture all the products. The cheap paul boutique are also well made and designed in excellent styles. All diesel jeans that are in vogue are presented in diesel uk for you. As a flagship diesel store, you can always be sure that you can find your best and suitable jeans with our diesel sale. All stylish and well made mens diesel jeans in diesel shop are just so much favored. Free and fast delivery now is served.
    http://www.paulsboutique-bag.co.uk
    http://www.diesel-store.co.uk

    July 31, 2012 at 20:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Nicole

    Great post! We all know that calcium and vitamin D help to build strong bones, but the question everyone is asking is "how much of this stuff do I actually need to get a real benefit from it"? I remember seeing a debate on the use of Vitamin D in the prevention of fractures, and it was extremely difficult for the side arguing against it since there were no strong studies that were published indicating that sometimes Vitamin D may not always be helpful. There was also little data on the actual side effects of Vitamin D. A great way to read about the studies and potential risks and benefits of Vitamin D is to go on the Natural Standard website- the service provides evidence based recommendations for the various aliments Vitamin D is commonly used for! Note: These postings are my own and do not necessarily represent Natural Standard’s positions, strategies or opinions.

    August 30, 2012 at 17:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Nadrich & Cohen LLP

    This is a great post! Very informative!

    Claire @ http://boneinjurycenter.jimdo.com/

    November 14, 2012 at 11:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. zortilo nrel

    Do you mind if I quote a few of your articles as long as I provide credit and sources back to your website? My blog site is in the very same area of interest as yours and my visitors would really benefit from a lot of the information you present here. Please let me know if this ok with you. Thanks a lot!

    http://www.zortilonrel.com/

    February 7, 2021 at 23:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. http://www.fokuszpalyazat.hu/

    What i do not realize is in reality how you're no longer actually a lot more well-liked than you might be now. You are so intelligent. You recognize therefore significantly in terms of this topic, made me individually imagine it from numerous various angles. Its like men and women aren't involved unless it is something to do with Lady gaga! Your personal stuffs great. At all times maintain it up!

    http://www.fokuszpalyazat.hu/

    February 9, 2021 at 03:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. plumbing company East Arcadia

    143173 788685so considerably great data on here, : D. 880896

    February 14, 2021 at 20:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. zortilonrel

    Great wordpress blog here.. It’s hard to find quality writing like yours these days. I really appreciate people like you! take care

    http://www.zortilonrel.com/

    February 18, 2021 at 08:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. roofing contractor Tupelo MS

    7297 714195Hello! I just now would pick to supply a enormous thumbs up with the fantastic information you could have here within this post. I will likely be coming back to your blog website for additional soon. 494378

    March 13, 2021 at 17:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Driveway Repair Fuquay Varina NC

    798827 215921I dont believe Ive seen all of the angles of this topic the way youve pointed them out. Youre a true star, a rock star man. Youve got so a lot to say and know so much about the subject that I believe you should just teach a class about it 89089

    March 13, 2021 at 17:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. sex in advertising essay

    335474 413823Absolutely nothing much better than Bing finding us a great website related to what I was searching for. 871176

    March 16, 2021 at 05:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Cinthia Fragmin

    Mining crypto is hard. Investing in crypto is risky. Too many of us are left out of the cryptocurrency revolution. Pi makes crypto mining easy, our Breakthrough tech allows you to mine on your phone without draining your battery.

    https://snip.ly/e714q6

    April 6, 2021 at 05:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Kathey Delmonte

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a game where you can do anything you want. sl is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you would like to see more you can see these sl websites and blogs

    http://badinfluencesblog.blogspot.com/2012/

    May 11, 2021 at 10:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Herbert Bybel

    This was great! I would like you to clean up all this spam though

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/yusuf-hanafy-82493b183

    May 12, 2021 at 06:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. stornobrzinol

    Hello my friend! I wish to say that this article is awesome, nice written and include approximately all vital infos. I’d like to see more posts like this.

    http://www.stornobrzinol.com/

    May 15, 2021 at 22:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Christian Eaglin

    I don't know about you all but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loves airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff https://www.airlinereporter.com/2009/10/recent-history-the-boeing-717/

    http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs151/1111846961938/archive/1119161431892.html

    May 16, 2021 at 19:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Pilar Blovin

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a video game where you can do anything you want. sl is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you would like to see more you can see these second life articles and blogs

    http://thisteachinglife.blogspot.com/2004/02/stolen-they-took-children-away.html

    May 17, 2021 at 09:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Waldo Sitaca

    I don't know about you all but I am obsessed with airplanes. I have a friend in highschool that loves airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff https://www.airlinereporter.com/2010/06/fun-with-photos-lots-of-airline-tails/

    http://urlm.co/g/c/f/163871

    May 18, 2021 at 04:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Randy Zebley

    I don't know about you guys but I am obsessed with airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loves airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff https://www.airlinereporter.com/2009/11/video-a-pilots-day-in-less-than-5-minutes/

    http://www.doc-txt.com/Boeing-Everett-Museum.pdf

    May 19, 2021 at 06:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Vicki Moll

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a video game where you can do anything you want. Second life is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you would like to see more you can see these sl articles and blogs

    http://myvedana.blogspot.com/2006/04/summation.html

    May 20, 2021 at 05:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Rubin Zellmer

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a video game where you can do anything you want. SL is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you would like to see more you can see these Second Life authors and blogs

    http://everydayliteracies.blogspot.com/2006/02/?m=0

    May 21, 2021 at 03:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Kathey Burkley

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a online game where you can do anything you want. SL is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you want to see more you can see these sl articles and blogs

    http://lostbiro.com/blog/?paged=15

    May 23, 2021 at 05:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Fern Ice

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a online game where you can do anything you want. SL is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you want to see more you can see these Second Life authors and blogs

    http://adolit.blogspot.com/2010/03/social-issue-media-festival-call-for.html

    May 28, 2021 at 06:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Forest Poellinetz

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is basically a online game where you can do anything you want. Second life is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you want to see more you can see these second life authors and blogs

    http://everydayliteracies.blogspot.com/2012/08/three-books-on-games-learning.html

    May 29, 2021 at 06:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Terence Loretto

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a game where you can do anything you want. sl is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you want to see more you can see these Second Life authors and blogs

    http://everydayliteracies.blogspot.com/2011/12/meeting-in-comillas-we-have-arrived-in.html?showComment=1325661750571

    May 30, 2021 at 07:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Dalia Younan

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a video game where you can do anything you want. Second life is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you want to see more you can see these second life authors and blogs

    http://everydayliteracies.blogspot.com/2014/09/latest-book-in-our-series-learning.html?showComment=1517297096868

    May 31, 2021 at 06:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Kassie Opyd

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is basically a online game where you can do anything you want. sl is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you want to see more you can see these sl articles and blogs

    http://everydayliteracies.blogspot.com/2012_08_01_archive.html

    June 3, 2021 at 00:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Noel Pipes

    This was awesome! I would like you to clean up all this spam though

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/yusufhanafy

    June 7, 2021 at 08:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Lisha Pirone

    This was great! I would like you to clean up all this spam though

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/yusufhanafy

    June 11, 2021 at 21:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. 토토사이트

    917165 270846Quite fascinating subject , regards for putting up. 180464

    June 19, 2021 at 16:41 | Report abuse | Reply

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.