Vitamin D Supplements: Do They Help with Bone Health?

A review of

Supplemental Vitamin D and Incident Fractures in Midlife and Older Adults

A recent study by The New England Journal of Medicine has been hitting the headlines, and for good reason—the study calls into question whether vitamin D supplements are good for your bone health.

Vitamin D is thought to help keep bones strong by increasing calcium absorption from the gut and decreasing bone turnover. This study specifically investigated the effect of taking vitamin D supplements on bone health. In other words, does taking a vitamin D supplement decrease the risk of bone fractures?

The results of this extensive study suggest that, contrary to popular belief, it does not. This includes the risk of fractures in any bone, not just those commonly fractured in people with osteoporosis such as the hip and spine.

Of the over 25,000 participants that included men aged 50 and older and women aged 55 older, there was no significant difference in the frequency of bone fracture between those taking vitamin D supplements and those not taking them. Yet, while taking a vitamin D supplement may not appear to reduce the risk of fractures, researchers suggest you don’t stop taking it just yet.

According to The New York Times, Dr. Meryl S. LeBoff, one of the lead investigators of the study and an osteoporosis expert, was not expecting these results. However, because the study did not exclusively address people with osteoporosis, she will continue to recommend vitamin D pills to her patients who have lower bone density or osteoporosis as this remains part of the professional guidelines for osteoporosis care.

Talk to your doctor if you have questions about vitamin D or any other vitamins for bone health. 

Check out the complete study for more details:
Supplemental Vitamin D and Incident Fractures in Midlife and Older Adults
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