(ABC News) — Taking calcium and vitamin D supplements may not actually lower fracture risks for elder adults living independently, according to a new analysis of past studies published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The researchers looked at 51,145 participants from 33 clinical trials and found that there was not a significant difference in the risk of hip fractures for those who used calcium supplements, vitamin D supplements, or both, compared to those who took a placebo or no supplements at all.
The participants were all adults who were over 50 years old, not living in a nursing home, not on anti-osteoporosis medications and had no history of steroid-induced bone breakdown.
“No significant associations were found between calcium, vitamin D, or combined calcium and vitamin D supplements and the incidence of nonvertebral, vertebral or total fractures,” researchers added as part of their secondary outcomes.
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In addition, further analyses found these results to be “generally consistent” regardless of the calcium or vitamin D dose, sex, fracture history, and dietary calcium intake.
Researchers only looked at supplement studies and did not assess studies that looked at dietary intake of calcium and vitamin D.
The chances of breaking a hip increase with age, and approximately 95 percent of hip fractures are caused by falling sideways, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
To prevent hip fractures, the CDC recommends talking to your doctor, getting screened for osteoporosis, doing strength and balance exercises, and having your eyes checked. In addition, the CDC recommends taking simple steps to make your home safer, including getting rid of things you could trip over, putting railings on both sides of any set of stairs and making sure your home has lots of light.