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Study Finds Vitamin D Alone Barely Protects the Bones in Postmenopausal Women

Update Date: Sep 24, 2013 01:55 PM EDT

When it comes to aging, there are several age-related illnesses that people must start caring for. One of the conditions that are inevitable for seniors is bone deterioration. In order to combat this health problem, doctors recommend seniors to take supplements, such as calcium tablets. In a new study, researchers examined the effects of taking vitamin D for bone health. They found that taking vitamin D supplements alone barely protected the bone health in postmenopausal women.

The researchers enrolled 159 postmenopausal women in a double blind, placebo-controlled, parallel group, and longitudinal factorial design study. The women were divided into four groups. The first group of women was given both vitamin D and calcium supplements. The second group of women was given 1,200 milligrams of calcium each day. The third group was given 4,000 IU of vitamin D each day. The last group received placebos.

The researchers examined the effects of the supplements by measuring the women's bone turnover markers after six months. At the end of the study, only 120 women completed it. The researchers found that people taking only vitamin D did not experience any benefits in their bone health.

"Vitamin D and calcium interact to suppress bone turnover by decreasing parathyroid hormone levels," said the study's lead author, John Aloia, MD, of Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola, NY. "This can be beneficial in women who are vitamin D deficient. In women who already are receiving the recommended daily allowance of vitamin D, however, the study found there was no advantage to adding a vitamin D supplement."

The study was published in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM)

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