Vitamin D supplements are widely prescribed and used to improve bone health. However, definitive data on whether these supplements actually reduce bone fractures in the general population is inconsistent.
To improve scientific understanding of this topic, a team of scientists from Brigham and Women’s Hospital conducted an ancillary study to the VITAMIN D and OmegA-3 Trial (VITAL), a clinical trial of more than 25,000 adults, also led by researchers of the Brigham. A total of 1991 incident fractures in 1551 participants were confirmed during a median follow-up of 5.3 years.
“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.” — Meryl LeBoff, MD
According to the results, a vitamin D supplement3 (2000 IU/day) did not reduce total, nonvertebral, or hip fractures compared to placebo. Additionally, there was no effect of supplemental vitamin D3 on major osteoporotic fractures, wrist fractures or pelvic fractures. In the analysis, the effects were not modified by baseline age, gender, race, body mass index, baseline blood levels of vitamin D, and personal use of calcium supplements and / or vitamin D.
“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,” said lead author Meryl LeBoff, MD, chief of the calcium and bone section of the endocrine division. at Brigham.
“These results do not apply to adults with vitamin D deficiency or low bone mass or osteoporosis. Most trial participants were not deficient and may have already achieved the level of vitamin D needed for healthy bones Our ongoing studies focus on whether free vitamin D levels or genetic variation in vitamin D absorption, metabolism, or receptor function D will provide information on who may benefit from a vitamin D supplement on musculoskeletal health.
“Although VITAL was originally designed to look at cardiovascular and cancer outcomes, this is a wonderful example of how it has shed light on health outcomes far beyond its original goals. “, said JoAnn Manson, MD, co-author and chief of the Division of Preventive Medicine at Brigham.
Reference: “Supplemental Vitamin D and Incident Fractures in Midlife and Older Adults” by Meryl S. LeBoff, MD, Sharon H. Chou, MD, Kristin A. Ratliff, BA, Nancy R. Cook, Sc.D., Bharti Khurana, MD, Eunjung Kim, MS, Peggy M. Cawthon, Ph.D., MPH, Douglas C. Bauer, MD, Dennis Black, Ph.D., J. Chris Gallagher, MD, I-Min Lee, MB, BS, Sc.D., Julie E. Buring, Sc.D., and JoAnn E. Manson, MD, Dr. PH, July 28, 2022, New England Journal of Medicine.
Funding: NIH/National Institute of Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases