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Vitamin D and Calcium May Help Everyone Avoid Fractures

A large study including nearly 70,000 participants recently found that supplements containing vitamin D and calcium may reduce the risk of fractures for everyone regardless of age, sex or previous fractures.

Researchers from the University of California, Davis analyzed data from seven large studies involving supplementation with vitamin D and calcium or vitamin D alone. 15% of the participants in the studies were men and the average age was 70. The results were published in the January 2009 edition of the British Medical Journal.

Interestingly, the participants that received only vitamin D did not see a reduction in fracture risk but when Vitamin D and calcium were taken together, hip fractures were reduced by 16% and overall fractures were reduced by 8%.

The researchers say this is due to the complementary action of the two nutrients. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, and calcium supports bone formation and repair.

Further studies are planned to help determine optimum dosage. The researchers noted that people who get enough calcium in their diet and vitamin D from exposure to the sun should not worry about taking vitamin D/calcium supplements. Dosages higher than the required level appear to provide no extra bone health benefits.

It is important to note that most Americans do not get enough vitamin D daily; especially mature adults. As we age, our skin becomes less efficient at synthesizing vitamin D during exposure to the sun. That is why an estimated 95% of mature adults have vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency.

Besides bone health, calcium has been shown to aid help with weight loss, skin health, and reducing the risk of ccolorectal cancer and stroke. Some studies have even suggested that calcium intake is associated with longevity.

Taking a supplement is a great way to ensure you're getting enough calcium and vitamin D daily. Eating more foods fortified with the vitamin, such as milk, cereal, orange juice and yogurt is also helpful.

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