Taking calcium and vitamin D supplements could reduce the number of hip fractures in people aged 65 and over according to new research.
New study shows that calcium and vitamin D supplements can prevent bone fracture
Supplements can reduce bone fracture by 16%
The study analysed data from 17 studies, involving nearly 84,000 people. Most people were in their late 60s or older. Results showed that those who took both calcium and vitamin D supplements were about 16% less likely to break a hip and 6% less likely to break any bone[i].
Hip fractures can be life-threatening
Hip fractures are severe and even life-threatening. In Australia, one in three adults aged 50 and over dies within 12 months of hip fracture[ii]. Older adults are five-to-eight times more likely to die within the first three months of a hip fracture compared to those without a fractured hip[iii]. And the increased risk of death remains for almost ten years[iv].
Hip fractures set to rise
An Australian is admitted to hospital with an osteoporotic fracture every five to six minutes. This rate is expected to rise to every three to four minutes by the year 2021, as our population ages and the number of osteoporotic fractures increase[v]. Compared to a fracture of any other bone, a hip fracture results in the most serious of all consequences.
Nutrition and individualised physical therapy can aid recovery. But with poor appetite and concomitant chronic illnesses consuming a healthy mixed diet can be a challenge.
Protection against bone breakages
The study published in JAMA found that the combination of calcium and vitamin D afforded protection. No protection from bone breaks of any sort was found for those who took only vitamin D.
Calcium and vitamin D work together. Calcium is the main mineral in bone and important for building strength. Vitamin D is vital to help the body absorb calcium. Sunlight is the major source of vitamin D, but for some elderly people, it can be difficult to get outside to enjoy the sun safely.