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NLM Director’s Comments Transcript
Vitamin D Supplements may not Prevent Osteoporosis: 11/18/2013
Regards to all our listeners!
I'm Rob Logan, Ph.D. senior staff National Library of Medicine for Donald Lindberg, M.D, the Director of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
Here is what's new this week in MedlinePlus.
Vitamin D supplements may not prevent osteoporosis in middle-aged adults, suggests a systematic review of medical studies from around the world recently published in The Lancet.
The review’s three New Zealand-based authors, who assessed the findings from 23 randomized trials (with 4000 healthy participants), found vitamin D supplements had little impact on increasing bone density within the spine, neck, hip, or forearms of middle-aged men and women.
The vitamin D dosage varied from 500 to 800 units a day within the reviewed studies. Participants received calcium in additional to vitamin D in some of the reviewed studies.
The authors found significant increases in bone density (or mineralization) from taking vitamin D supplements did not occur within the individual studies they reviewed as well as their original analyses of pooled data. The authors note the current study is the most comprehensive systematic review and meta-analysis to date about the impact of vitamin D supplements on osteoporosis.
The authors emphasize the current study’s findings only apply to healthy adults. Middle-aged adults who have vitamin D deficiencies often were not participants in the research the authors reviewed.
The three authors conclude the widely believed idea that vitamin D supplements boost bone density and help prevent adult osteoporosis is probably false. The study’s lead author told the New York Times (and we quote): ‘For healthy people focused on osteoporosis prevention, vitamin D does not make a positive contribution’ (end of quote).
MedlinePlus.gov’s osteoporosis health topic page explains osteoporosis makes bones weak and more likely to break. MedlinePlus.gov’s osteoporosis health topic page adds about half of all women and about 25 percent of men after age 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis.
Meanwhile, some background information about osteoporosis, bone health, and bone density (from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases) is available in ‘start here’ section of MedlinePlus.gov’s osteoporosis health topic page.
Links to websites that address the interactions between osteoporosis and breast cancer, alcoholism, asthma, celiac disease, and arthritis are provided in the ‘related issues’ section of MedlinePlus.gov’s osteoporosis health topic page. The ‘coping’ section of MedlinePlus.gov’s osteoporosis health topic page provides links to information about the emotional and social impact of osteoporosis.
MedlinePlus.gov’s osteoporosis health topic page additionally provides links to the latest pertinent journal research articles, which are available in the ‘journal articles’ section. Links to clinical trials that may be occurring in your area are available in the ‘clinical trials’ section. You can sign up to receive updates about osteoporosis as they become available on MedlinePlus.gov.
Otherwise, MedlinePlus.gov’s vitamin D health topic page notes persons who might need extra vitamin D from supplements as well as other sources include: seniors, breastfed infants, persons with liver disease, cystic fibrosis and Crohn’s disease.
To find MedlinePlus.gov’s Vitamin D health topic page, type ‘Vitamin D’ in the search box on MedlinePlus.gov’s home page. Then, click on ‘vitamin D (National Library of Medicine).’
To find MedlinePlus.gov’s osteoporosis health topic page, type ‘O…S…T…E…O…P…O…R…O…S…I… S’ in the search box on MedlinePlus.gov’s home page. Then, click on ‘osteoporosis (National Library of Medicine).’ MedlinePlus.gov also contains health topic pages on bone health and bone density.
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It was nice to be with you. I look forward to meeting you here next week.