MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: The increased social and economic burdens for osteoporotic-related fractures worldwide make its prevention a major public health goal.
Calcium and vitamin D supplements have long been considered a basic intervention for the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis. Survey analysis showed that 30–50% of older people take calcium or vitamin D supplements in some developed countries. Many previously published meta-analyses, from the high-ranking medical journals, concluded that calcium and vitamin D supplements reduce the incidence of fracture in older adults. And many guidelines regarding osteoporosis recommend calcium and vitamin D supplements for older people. The final aim for these supplements is to prevent the incidence of osteoporotic-related fracture in osteoporosis management.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: We found that the beneficial results of calcium and vitamin D supplementation were likely to be caused by these populations living in institutions such as nursing homes and residential care facilities. Hence, we only investigated the association of calcium and vitamin D supplementation with fracture risk incidence in community-dwelling older adults. As a result, our conclusions are quite different from previous meta-analyses.
This study found that the use of supplements that included calcium, vitamin D, or both calcium and vitamin D was not associated with a lower risk of fractures among community-dwelling older adults.
MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Response: Our report does not support the routine use of these supplements in community-dwelling older people.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: Whether adjusting the diet structure and increasing sun sunlight exposure will be associated with the lower risk of fracture in older adults.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: I think that it is time to stop taking calcium and vitamin D supplements for the community-dwelling older adults.
Correspondingly, the guidelines also should be changed. Improving the life style (such as exercise, enough sunshine) and adjusting the diet structure may be more important than taking these supplements.
We have no conflicts of interest.
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Zhao J-G, Zeng X-T, Wang J, Liu L. Association between calcium or vitamin D supplementation and fracture incidence in community-dwelling older adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.19344
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