Is there any point in taking calcium supplements to reduce your fracture risk?



Mark J Bolland et al have studied whether increasing dietary and supplemental calcium can prevent fractures or not.

Calcium supplementation has long been standard practice and is usually included in vitamin D formulations for the elderly, those on long term steroids, and those who have established osteoporosis. Diabetics are also at increased risk of osteoporosis.

In this systematic review of randomised controlled trials and cohort studies dietary calcium had no effect on fracture risk at all. Calcium supplementation meanwhile only had a small and inconsistent effect on fracture prevention.

So probably not worth it then?

What could be more useful is supplementation with straight vitamin D3.

Dr Lee Wah Phin and Dr John Holden from North West England checked the vitamin D status of 302 GP patients. They took 75 mmol/l as the cut off point for low vitamin D and found that 90% of the adult population were deficient. This is in keeping with my own findings in GP in the West of Scotland.  They wonder if there should be some way of screening and supplementing  the population.

Based on BMJ 3 October 2015 and RCGP letter October 15.


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