Health & Wellness

Bad Break for Bone Supplements

Researchers say that supplements intended to prevent broken bones don’t work

By Wendy Haaf


Calcium and vitamin D supplements aren’t all they’re cracked up to be for fending off fractures, at least not if you’re healthy enough to be living outside of an assisted-care facility.

That’s the conclusion researchers came to after analyzing 33 randomized controlled trials comparing the effects of each supplement—and the two in combination—against both placebo and no treatment at all in more than 50,000 community-dwelling adults 50 or older.

Not only were there no significant differences in the rates of hip, vertebral, non-vertebral, and total fractures between groups who took supplements and those who didn’t, but the results were generally consistent despite factors such as gender, fracture history, dose, dietary calcium intake, and baseline vitamin D levels.

As a result of their study, researchers said they had found nothing that would support “the routine use of these supplements” by older, independent people.

The results were published in JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association.

Images: iStock/RaStudio (broken leg) and newannyart (supplements).