Vitamin D Won’t Strengthen Older Women’s Bones – WebMD

Vitamin D Won’t Strengthen Older Women’s Bones

By Alan Mozes

HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Aug. 3, 2015 (HealthDay News) — High doses of vitamin D do not appear to protect postmenopausal women from the dangers of osteoporosis, new research indicates.

“While high-dose vitamin D did indeed increase calcium absorption, the increase was only 1 percent and [it] did not translate into gains in spine, hip or total body bone mineral density,” said study author Dr. Karen Hansen.

In fact, Hansen, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison, noted that she and her colleagues “did not find any benefit of vitamin D, in either high or low dose, on muscle mass, two tests of muscle fitness or fall [risk].”

The team reported the results online Aug. 3 in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

Postmenopausal women face a greater than average risk for developing osteoporosis, according to the U.S. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. In fact, the study authors say almost half of postmenopausal women will experience some type of bone fracture resulting from low bone mass, low muscle mass and/or low bone density.

To explore the potential benefit of vitamin D supplementation on bone health, investigators focused on 230 vitamin-D deficient postmenopausal women. Most were white, and all were under the age of 75.

Between 2010 and 2013, the women were divided into three groups: a high-dose vitamin D group; a low-dose vitamin D group; and a dummy pill group.

For one year, those in the low-dose group received 800 IUs of vitamin D daily, while those in the high-dose group received 50,000 IUs of vitamin D twice a month.

By year’s end, the no-dose group saw their calcium absorption rate drop by a little more than 1 percent, while the low-dose groups experienced a dip of about 2 percent. In comparison, the high-dose group saw their rate climb by 1 percent.

While the overall vitamin D level across all three groups was ultimately pegged at about 21 nanograms per milliliter, the high-dose group saw their levels rise to 30 nanograms per milliliter, a level many experts consider more optimal.


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