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Vitamin D Supplements Benefit Elderly

Vitamin D Supplements - A clear need and benefit in the elderly

Australian bone health experts, meeting in Sydney, have welcomed the publication of a major new analysis which may lay to rest uncertainties that taking vitamin D supplements has a positive impact on bone health and falls.

The new analysis, published today in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine, found that a high dose of Vitamin D supplementation was required to show a benefit. The researchers calculate that those over 65 year olds, taking a high dose of vitamin D, could reduce hip fractures by 20%.

Two previous analyses, published in 2007, compared multiple trials of vitamin D supplements, but failed to consistently show a clear benefit. The new analysis has also included two recent large trials of vitamin D supplementation.

Professor Rebecca Mason, President Elect of the Australian and New Zealand Bone and Mineral Society said "This is a valuable interpretation which indicates that some of the variability we have seen in previous trials can be attributed to the vitamin D dose used. Those older Australians, who are taking vitamin D supplements, are likely taking 1000 international units per day. The new analysis supports the view that this dose is likely to have bone health benefits for them."

A new Australian study, presented at the international bone health meeting in Sydney, has found that 9 out of 10 women admitted to a Melbourne hospital with a hip fracture had inadequate Vitamin D levels. Professor Ego Seeman, co researcher on the study commented "Despite evidence that vitamin D deficiency is a risk factor related to hip fractures, even when this is determined in patients admitted to hospital they are not being treated with supplements."

Both experts commented that there was some ongoing scientific debate about the value of vitamin D supplements in other population groups.


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