Researchers from Tufts University, Medford, Mass, report that higher doses of vitamin D may prove the most beneficial in helping reduce bone fractures in older adults. The results stem from a pooled analysis of 11 unrelated randomized clinical trails designed to investigate vitamin D supplementation and fracture risk in more than 31,000 older adults, according to a Tufts University news release. Bess Dawson-Hughes, MD, director of the bone metabolism laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (USDA HNRCA) at Tufts led the research.

Dawson-Hughes reportedly led the research team in dividing subjects into quartiles ranging from 0 to 2,000 International Units (IUs) of daily vitamin D intake. The results indicate that in the top quartile, subjects exhibited a 30% reduction in hip fracture risk and a 14% reduced risk of fracturing other bones compared to other control groups.

“Taking between 800 IUs and 2,000 IUs of vitamin D per day significantly reduced the risk of most fractures, including hip, wrist, and forearm in both men and women age 65 and older,” Dawson-Hughes explains, adding that researchers observed no benefit in taking vitamin D supplements in doses below 800 IUs per day for fracture prevention.

“Our results make a compelling contribution to the existing data on vitamin D and fracture risk in men and women age 65 or older,” notes lead author Heike Bischoff-Ferrari, MD, DPh, director of the Center on Aging and Mobility, University of Zurich and Waid City Hospital, visiting scientist in the bone metabolism laboratory at the USDA HNRCA.

Dawson-Hughes also points out that vitamin D supplementation can prove an efficient intervention for costly fractures that impact thousands of older adults each year. Researchers call for further research in order to pinpoint the effect of blending calcium supplementation with high doses vitamin D, since the current study produced inconclusive data regarding this.

Source: Tufts University