Bastyr Center for Natural Health, Seattle, Washington
Search
Health Information
Overview Health Conditions and Concerns Conditions A-M Conditions N-Z Healthy Lifestyle Tips Bastyr Health-E News News and Events Recommended Reading List Recipes National and Community Resources
Schedule an appointment today
Menopausal/Post-menopausal | Vitamin D, Calcium Increase Bone Density, Reduce Falls

Vitamin D, Calcium Increase Bone Density, Reduce Falls

Women who have experienced a hip fracture may improve their bone mass and reduce their chances of falling down and of suffering another fracture if they supplement with vitamin D and calcium, according to a study in Age and Aging. (2004;33:45–51).

Osteoporosis is a bone condition characterized by low bone mass, changes in bone structure that lead to weakening of the bones, and increased susceptibility to fractures. Hip fractures are the most serious osteoporosis-related fractures, and are a significant cause of disability and mortality in the elderly. Among people who survive a hip fracture, the chance of developing a fracture in the other hip greatly increases.

Many older people are deficient in vitamin D. Calcium and vitamin D have been shown to protect against initial fractures in elderly people, but little is known about how to prevent subsequent fractures.

The current study investigated the effects of various vitamin D and calcium supplementation regimens on markers of bone metabolism, bone mineral density, fractures, and falls in elderly women who had recently undergone surgery for a hip fracture.

One hundred fifty women aged 67 to 92 years were observed for one year after undergoing hip surgery for a fracture due to osteoporosis. The women were randomly assigned to receive one of the following: (1) 300,000 units of vitamin D by a single injection; (2) 300,000 units of vitamin D by a single injection and 1 gram of calcium per day; (3) 800 units of vitamin D and 1 gram of calcium per day; or (4) no treatment. Bone mineral density and blood markers of bone health were assessed at the beginning of the study. After 12 months, these measurements were repeated and numbers of falls and fractures among participants were assessed.

Among those people receiving vitamin D (all groups combined), the rate of falling was about half of that in the group receiving no treatment. The chance of developing a fracture among the vitamin D-treated groups was also half of that in the group receiving no treatment. There was a small, yet statistically significant increase in bone mineral density at the hip (but not the spine) in the vitamin D-treated groups compared with the group receiving no treatment. While it appears that the oral calcium and vitamin D combination was the most effective regimen, further studies are needed to confirm this finding.

For people with osteoporosis, the implications of this study are profoundly encouraging. As most fractures result from falling, a 50% reduction in the falling risk represents a substantial decrease. While the positive effect of vitamin D on bone density has been known for years, the observation that vitamin D can prevent falls is relatively new. Recent studies have shown that correcting vitamin D deficiency improves both muscle strength and balance, effects which likely account for the reduction in the rate of falls.

Kimberly Beauchamp, ND, received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Rhode Island and her Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from Bastyr University in Kenmore, WA. Dr. Beauchamp is a co-founder and practicing physician at South County Naturopaths, Inc. in Wakefield, RI. Her emphasis is on women’s health, pediatrics, and detoxification.

Copyright © 2004 Healthnotes, Inc. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of the Healthnotes® content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Healthnotes, Inc. Healthnotes Newswire is for educational or informational purposes only, and is not intended to diagnose or provide treatment for any condition. If you have any concerns about your own health, you should always consult with a healthcare professional. Healthnotes, Inc. shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. Healthnotes and the Healthnotes logo are registered trademarks of Healthnotes, Inc.

Learn More About It

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 |

Find a Provider

Want to find the provider that's right for you? Learn more about our health care providers.  »



Bastyr Center Disclaimer
gif
gif

The health information contained in this site is not intended as medical advice and should not be considered a substitute for appropriate medical care. Any products mentioned in studies cited in Healthnotes articles are not necessarily endorsed by Bastyr. As with any product, consult with a natural health practitioner to discuss what may be best for you.

gif

Appointments: 206.834.4100
Bastyr Center clinic appointments

Submit a contact request or call us to schedule an appointment »

Bastyr University Clinic in San Diego

Are you looking for Bastyr University Clinic, our new teaching clinic in San Diego? More »

Learn More About Our Services

Natural medicine can treat many types of conditions including:

More treatable health conditions »


Bastyr Center healthcare providers

Interested in finding a provider who's right for you? We recommend that your first visit at BCNH be with a Naturopathic Medicine Provider. »

Home  | Health Information  | Health Care Services  | Our Providers  | Patient Care  | Dispensaries

About BCNH  | Contact Us  | Appointments  | Privacy Policy  | Site Map | Bastyr University