Dietary supplements that prevent bone loss at the hip and that can be applied safely in the elderly are likely to reduce hip fractures. A daily dietary supplement of 750 mg calcium or 15 μg 25OH vitamin D3 on bone loss at the hip and other sites, bone turnover and calcium-regulating hormones were studied over 4 yr in elderly volunteers using a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Bone mineral density (BMD) was measured by dual x-ray absorptiometry and bone structure by radiographs. Calcium biochemistry and bone turnover markers were measured in blood and urine. The 316 women entering the trial had a mean age of 73.7 yr and the 122 men of 75.9 yr. Baseline median calcium intake was 546 mg/day, and median serum 25OH vitamin D3 was 59 nmol/L. On placebo, loss of BMD at total hip was 2% and femoral medulla expansion was 3% over 4 yr. Calcium reduced bone loss, secondary hyperparathyroidism, and bone turnover. 25OH vitamin D3 was intermediate between placebo and calcium. Fracture rates and drop-out rates were similar among groups, and there were no serious adverse events with either supplement. A calcium supplement of 750 mg/day prevents loss of BMD, reduces femoral medullary expansion, secondary hyperparathyroidism, and high bone turnover. A supplement of 15 μg/day 25OH vitamin D3 is less effective, and because its effects are seen only at low calcium intakes, suggests that its beneficial effect is to reverse calcium insufficiency.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Clinical Biochemistry
- Biochemistry, medical