Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up
Font Size

Vitamin D Alone Doesn't Boost Bone Health, Study Says

But calcium supplements appear to reduce risk of osteoporosis

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Sept. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Calcium supplements improve bone health in postmenopausal women, but vitamin D supplements provide no benefit in women with normal vitamin D levels, a new study finds.

"These findings suggest that vitamin D supplements over the recommended dietary allowance do not protect bone health, whereas calcium supplements do have an effect," study lead author Dr. John Aloia, of Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola, N.Y., said in a news release from the Endocrine Society.

For the study, published Sept. 24 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, the researchers examined bone turnover in 159 postmenopausal women. Bone turnover is the body's natural process for breaking down old bone. Young people produce enough new bone to replace what is lost, but bone mass in women begins to decline after age 30, and this loss speeds up after menopause.

The women in the study were divided into four groups: one group received a combination of vitamin D and calcium; one group took 1,200 milligrams of calcium daily; one group took 4,000 IU of vitamin D daily; and one group took an inactive placebo. Levels of bone turnover markers, such as parathyroid hormone levels in the blood, were assessed for six months.

There was a significant decline in bone turnover markers among women who took daily calcium supplements. The vitamin D supplements had no effect on bone turnover markers, the researchers reported.

"Vitamin D and calcium interact to suppress bone turnover by decreasing parathyroid hormone levels," said Aloia in the news release. "This can be beneficial in women who are vitamin D deficient. In women who already are receiving the recommended daily allowance of vitamin D, however, the study found there was no advantage to adding a vitamin D supplement."

Aloia added: "Women do need to be cautious about the possibility of vascular side effects from too much calcium and should consult their physicians about whether their diet is adequate or whether they should take supplements at all."

By 2020, half of all Americans over age 50 are expected to have low bone density or osteoporosis, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation. This can lead to painful and debilitating fractures.

Vitamins and
Supplements
Lifestyle Guide

Which Nutrients
Are You Missing?

Learn More

Today on WebMD

Woman taking a vitamin or supplement
Article
Man taking a vitamin or supplement
Article
 
clams
Quiz
Woman in sun
Slideshow
 
Flaxseed added fiber
Video
!!69X75_Vitamins_Supplements.jpg
Evaluator
 
Woman sleeping
Article
Woman staring into space with coffee
Article
 

Send yourself a link to download the app.

Loading ...

Please wait...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.