Researchers have found that a daily dose of 800 international units (IU) of Vitamin D may help reduce the risk of bone fractures in people 65 years and older.
In a study published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), researchers from Europe and the United States write that 75 percent of fractures occur in people age 65 and older, and by 2050, the worldwide occurrence of hip fractures is expected to increase by 240 percent among women and 310 percent among men.
The researchers gathered data from 11 double-blind, randomized control trials of vitamin D supplementation daily, weekly or every four months and compared them with placebo or calcium alone in people 65 or older. The study included 31,022 people with the average age of 76 and 91 percent were women. Four percent, 1,111 people had hip fractures and 12 percent, 3,770 people had non-vertebral fractures.
The study concluded that by taking 800 IU or more of Vitamin D daily can reduce the risk of hip fracture by 30 percent and the risk of other bone fractures by 14 percent. Taking less than 800 IU of Vitamin D daily has no effect.
“Notably, there was no reduction in the risk of hip fracture at any actual intake level lower than 792 IU per day,” the researchers said
Study researcher Dr. Heike Bischoff-Ferrari of University Hospital Zurich in Switzerland said, “Hip fractures cost a lot and are a really serious event. They are usually the end of independent life for a senior person; 50 percent do not regain their mobility. Reducing the risk by 30 percent with just a vitamin supplement would be an enormous public health opportunity.”
“In the medical world, vitamin D seems like a very low priority. It may be the lack of lobbying for it, the fact that it costs almost nothing and some people think it’s too good to be true, but the data is impressive,” Bischoff-Ferrari said. “There are still doctors who are giving calcium without vitamin to hip fracture patients. Imagine giving a calcium supplement and increasing the fracture risk.”
Vitamin D3 Supplements Reduce Fractures in Elderly
Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) supplements reduce the rate of first time fractures by 22% in men and women over 65 years of age.