Calcium and Vitamin D Supplements do not Reduce Your Risk of Bone Fracture
You must have heard how important vitamin D and calcium is for our bones bur if you’ve been popping these supplements religiously, hoping to get bones made out of steel, we’re about to shock you with results from a latest study. It showed that people who took vitamin D and calcium every day were no more likely to prevent a hip injury than those who didn’t take the supplements.
Do people who take calcium and vitamin D supplements have stronger bones?
Researchers set out on a mission to see how the bone structure of those who take calcium supplements differs from others who don’t and they investigated 33 different studies involving more than 50,000 people of the age 50 years or above. The participants, who lived on their own in the community instead of nursing homes, were divided into three groups for the purpose of the research.
Group A was given a combination of vitamin D and calcium supplements, group B was given dummy pills to check for placebo effects whereas group C was given no treatment at all. The trials then focused on finding an association between taking supplements and bone strength. What the researchers found was that calcium and vitamin D pills did not reduce the risk of broken hips, spinal fractures or any other injuries that involved bones.
Flaws within the research
The trials then tweaked the amount of calcium and vitamin D in participants of group A but the results were still the same. No matter how much or how often they took the supplement, the researchers were unable to establish a link between the pills and the risk of fracture. The results were also consistent between the two genders.
However, the trial had a major shortcoming which could have had affected the results tremendously: it did not measure the calcium or vitamin D levels in the participants before starting the treatment, a detail that was crucial to determine the results. Researchers also argued that the quality of experiments conducted in the trials was not up to par which could have led to erroneous results.
Furthermore, the trials failed to include participants with extremely severe deficiencies in vitamin D and calcium simply because these patients are often too sick to partake in the experiments. An endocrinologist at Mayo clinic in Minnesota, Dr. Kurt Kennel, said that it would have been interesting to see how the experiment affected the bone density of those who were deficient in either calcium, vitamin D or both.
Do we really need supplements?
A few doctors are urging patients to stop using expensive vitamin supplements which offer no real health benefits. Dr. Jia-Guo Zhao from China’s Tianjin Hospital says that older adults who dwell in communities should not be taking supplements. Instead their focus should be on improving physical health by exercising every day, getting plenty of vitamin D from natural sunlight and enjoying a balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Both calcium and vitamin D are crucial for healthy and strong bones but too much emphasis is being put on supplements than a healthy diet. According to the National Institute of Health, adults require 600 IU of vitamin D every day which can easily be fulfilled by spending a few minutes in the sunlight.
People who take vitamin D in supplements along with natural sunlight tend to go over their daily recommended limit of 1,000 IU which often leads to side effects including fractures, cancer risks and kidney stones. This research taught a very important lesson about the role of supplements in reducing osteoporosis, a condition that occurs with old age and results in a loss of bone density. People often think that this naturally-occurring phenomenon can be halted with the help of extra supplements which simply add to the problem due to their dangerous side effects. Doctors say that it is important to improve your diet and lifestyle before jumping to the conclusion that you need supplements.
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