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Supplements Help Women on Hormone Therapy

Update Date: Jun 26, 2013 11:46 AM EDT
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The subject of whether or not taking daily supplements improves health has been debated endlessly. Even though doctors can recommend people to take specific vitamins or minerals, whether or not they actually help improve health conditions have never been fully determined. In a new study, researchers found that women who are on hormonal therapy could benefit greatly from taking calcium and vitamin D supplements.

In this study, researchers evaluated data of over 30,000 postmenopausal women who were between 50 and 79-years-old enrolled in a Women's Health study. Many of the women in the study were taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT) that included estrogen or a combination of estrogen and progesterone. Of this sample set, the researchers enlisted 16,000 of them to partake in the calcium and vitamin D experiment. Women were randomly given either a placebo or 1,000 milligrams of calcium and 400 international units of vitamin D per day with and without HRT. The participants were followed up after an average span of seven years.

The researchers discovered that when HRT was combined with the supplements, the risk of a hip fracture reduced by 57 percent. The researchers calculated that the rate of hip fracture for women taking the combination route was 11 in 10,000. For the group that took the placebo with HRT, the rate of hip fracture was 18 for every 10,000. Women who only took supplements had a hip fracture rate of 25 per 10,000. Lastly, women who did not receive therapy or supplements at all had a fracture rate of 22 per 10,000.  

"We found that women who were on hormones had less hip fractures, and women who were on hormone and calcium and vitamin D supplements had even fewer hip fractures," Dr. John Robbins, the study's author said according to HealthDay. Robbins is a professor of medicine at the University of California Davis.

Although the researchers found that both supplements could reduce hip fractures, the researchers could not determine whether or not calcium and vitamin D would work on their own. Furthermore, the researcher could not identify the optimal dose for either supplement.

The study was published in Menopause

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