A new study has zoomed in on the effectiveness of calcium and vitamin D supplements in the elderly that are seeking to keep brittle bones at bay as they age. Researchers found little evidence to support the two dietary supplements’ effectiveness in protecting seniors against fractures and other types of broken bones.
Lead author Jia-Guo Zhao concluded that the supplementation is “unnecessary” in older folks. “I think that it is time to stop taking calcium and vitamin D supplements,” Zhao, who works as an orthopedic surgeon at a major hospital in Tianjin, China, said.
However, not all researchers sided with Zhao on his conclusion. Icahn School of Medicine’s orthopedic expert Dr. Daniel Smith criticized the study for arguing against the two dietary supplements without firm grounds.
Smith thinks Zhao’s team has failed to see “the big picture,” i.e. the fact that a hip fracture in the elderly can turn out to be catastrophic. Smith argues that calcium and vitamin D supplements can prevent hip fractures in a small number of people, but that fact alone outweighs the risks by a lot.
Calcium and Vitamin D Supplements Could Offset Some Age-Related Issues
Doctors usually prescribe the two supplements as a way of keeping bone issues at bay at the body gets older.
Calcium is overwhelmingly found in the human bones and teeth, and one’s body cannot generate the mineral without help. A calcium deficit can translate into serious health issues like osteoporosis. Vitamin D helps the body metabolize calcium.
According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation’s guidelines, adult women should get 1,000 mg of calcium daily until the age 50. Men should take the same amount until the age of 70. In older people, the daily calcium intake should increase to 1,200 mg.
The latest study included data from 33 clinical trials. The findings appeared this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Image Source: Health.mil
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