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Study Say Calcium Plus Vitamin D Could Save US Healthcare $12B

Post-menopausal women are the subset of the population most at risk of osteoporosis or bone loss as they age. A recent study suggests if all postmenopausal women took calcium and vitamin D, it could save the US healthcare system up to $12 billion by 2020 by reducing the risk of bone fracture.

Currently, only 29% of postmenopausal women over the age of 55 are taking a calcium/vitamin D supplement. However, previous research suggests that taking the supplement could result in an 18% lower risk of falls and fractures. The researchers for this study pointed out that approximately 15% of postmenopausal women have a fall or fracture in a year. Reducing that number by 18% could be significant.

The researchers calculated the $12 billion savings by starting with the average cost of an event for a woman in this group. Multiplying that cost by the number of annual events resulted in a total of $1.5 billion. They then took into consideration the fact that 71% of the at-risk population is not currently using the supplements. If the whole population used the supplements, the cost savings could reach as high as $12 billion.

They also calculated the cost of administering 1000 mg of calcium and 800 IU of vitamin D daily and found that it was approximately 16 cents per day. That cost is significantly lower than the cost of any post-diagnosis osteoporosis drugs currently on the market.

Researchers from Frost & Sullivan conducted the study. The full report is published on the Council for Responsible Nutrition website.

Calcium is a mineral that is essential for bone strength. A lack of calcium can lead to osteoporosis, a serious health issue characterized by low bone mass, which leads to an increased risk of fractures. Vitamin D aids in calcium break down and absorption. Several studies have also suggested that calcium and vitamin D may play a role in the regulation of abdominal fat mass.

Consumption of vitamin D has been linked to reducing the risk of osteoporosis and high blood pressure in mature adults, improving kidney health, reducing the risk of skin cancer, improving cardiovascular health, combating diabetes, and improving age related eye degeneration.

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