• Recent JAMA Study Questioning Benefits of Vitamin D and Calcium Supplements in Preventing Bone Breaks and Fractures May Create Confusion for Those Who Could Benefit

    December 29, 2017

    The American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR), the world’s leading scientific organization for bone health experts, urges caution to patients, their caregivers and physicians regarding the new findings published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (December 26, 2017) that found no clear benefit in the use of vitamin D and calcium supplements in older adults who live in the general community.

    Although the study reports that there is no evidence that these supplements prevent bone breaks or hip fractures for adults over 50 who are not living in hospitals, nursing homes or other facilities, it is critical for all to understand that this analysis focuses only on healthy adults. The results of this study do not apply to people with osteoporosis or other metabolic bone diseases or to people taking bone protective medications. For them, adequate calcium intake and vitamin D status needs to be ensured for their medications to be effective in preventing fractures.

    “These findings may cause continued confusion for patients, their caregivers and their physicians about who should and who should not be taking supplemental vitamin D and calcium,” said Michael Econs, MD, ASBMR President and Professor of Medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine. “It’s important that everyone understand the guidelines that pertain to their health conditions and risks.”

    For generally healthy adults over 50 living in the community, people should aim to get calcium in the diet from foods such as milk, vegetables, fruits and bean products. Vitamin D is in some foods and is synthesized in the skin and can be obtained by daily exposure to sunlight. This is in line with draft updated recommendations from US Preventive Services Task Force as of October 2017, although the final recommendations have not been published.


    For interviews with ASBMR President Dr. Michael Econs, please contact: Ann L. Elderkin at 207-712-3957 or aelderkin@asbmr.org.

    About ASBMR
    The American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR) is the leading professional, scientific and medical society established to bring together clinical and experimental scientists involved in the study of bone and mineral metabolism. ASBMR encourages and promotes the study of this expanding field through annual scientific meetings, an official journal (Journal of Bone and Mineral Research®), the Primer on Metabolic Bone Diseases and Disorders of Mineral Metabolism, advocacy and interaction with government agencies and related societies. To learn more about upcoming meetings and publications, please visit www.asbmr.org.

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