Vitamin D does not lower fracture risk in adults, study finds

The team found vitamin D3 did not lower fracture risk versus placebo among healthy midlife and older adults who were not vitamin D deficient, or had low bone mass, or osteoporosis.

“Overall, the results from this large clinical trial do not support the use of vitamin D supplements to reduce fractures in generally healthy US men and women,”​concludes lead author Meryl LeBoff, Chief of the Calcium and Bone Section in the Endocrine Division at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

“These findings do not apply to adults with vitamin D deficiency or low bone mass or osteoporosis.

Most participants in the trial were not deficient and may have already reached the vitamin D level needed for bone health.”

Vitamin D supplements are widely recommended for bone health in the general population, but data on whether they prevent fractures have been inconsistent.

To address this, researchers conducted an ancillary study to the VITAmin D and OmegA-3 TriaL (VITAL)​, ​a clinical trial of more than 25,000 adults, also led by Brigham.

Study findings

A total of 1,991 incident fractures in 1,551 participants were confirmed over a median follow-up of 5.3 years.

Compared to placebo, supplemental vitamin D3 (2000 IU/day) did not reduce total, non-vertebral, or hip fractures.

The analyzes also showed that there were no effects of supplemental vitamin D3 on major osteoporotic fractures, wrist fractures, or pelvic fractures.

Effects were not modified by baseline age, sex, race, body mass index, baseline vitamin D blood levels, and personal use of supplemental calcium and/or vitamin D.

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