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Bone health: vitamin D supplements are generally unnecessary

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Vitamin D supplements are no more effective than a placebo in preventing fractures in the general population, according to a large study published in July 2022 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Vitamin D is widely recommended for bone health in the general population, but data on fracture prevention is conflicting.

In order to clarify the question, Meryl S. LeBoff, of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital affiliated with the Harvard Medical School (USA), and colleagues analyzed data from a large randomized trial with 25,871 participants, aged 50 and over, from the general population (not recruited on the basis of vitamin D deficiency, low bone mass or osteoporosis). They were randomly assigned to take vitamin D3 (2000 IU/day) or a placebo. (What are vitamin D, D2 and D3?)

During follow-up of approximately 5 years, 1991 fractures occurred in 1551 participants.

Vitamin D3, compared to placebo, had no significant effect on the number of total fractures (which occurred in 769 of 12,927 participants in the vitamin D group and in 782 of 12,944 participants in the placebo group) as well as on non-vertebral fractures and hip fractures, in both women and men.

Vitamin D3 supplementation also had no effect on major osteoporotic fractures, wrist fractures, or pelvic fractures.

Compared to placebo, vitamin D3 supplementation did not provide a benefit even when taking into account in the analyzes characteristics such as age, ethnic group, body mass index (healthy weight, overweight, obesity?: Quick CALCULATION of your BMI) or blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D at baseline.

Overall, the results of this large clinical trial do not support the use of vitamin D supplements to reduce fractures in generally healthy American men and women.concludes Meryl LeBoff. “These results do not apply to people with vitamin D deficiency, low bone mass, or osteoporosis. Most of the trial participants were not deficient and may have already reached the level of vitamin D needed for bone health. Our ongoing studies aim to test whether free vitamin D levels or genetic variations in vitamin D absorption, metabolism, or receptor function will provide information about who may benefit from vitamin D supplementation. on musculoskeletal health.»

For more information on vitamin D and bone health, see the links below.

Psychomedia with sources: Brigham and Women’s Hospital, New England Journal of Medicine.
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