Tens of thousands of elderly people who take &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/science/19/94/377/12309_milk.html ' target=_blank>vitamin D and calcium supplements to prevent bone fractures may be wasting their time, according to researchers.
Elderly people who have a fracture are at a higher risk of having another and Vitamin D and calcium are often recommended for prevention of osteoporotic fractures.
But a study of more than 5,000 people aged 70 and over found that those who took the supplements, either alone or in combination, to prevent repeat fractures suffered just as many secondary breaks as those given placebos, publishes the Telegraph.
The authors of the reports, published in The &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/society/2003/03/29/45275.html ' target=_blank>Lancet and the British medical journal BMJ, said their findings suggested that for people with brittle bones, relying solely on the supplements might not be enough.
Other experts called the findings important but cautioned that they did not apply to most people.
Just people older than 70, a majority of them women with previous bone injuries, were included in the studies. Because vitamin D and calcium are widely considered early preventive measures, it is no surprise that the studies failed to find them effective in people who already had osteoporosis or signs of it, said Dr. Steven R. Goldstein, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the New York University medical center.
Osteoporosis causes bones to become thinner and occurs primarily in the elderly. About 10 million Americans older than 50 develop the disease each year, and 1.5 million break bones because of it. Osteoporosis can be treated with drugs like biphosphonates that prevent the bones from deteriorating, but doctors often recommend taking supplements or eating foods rich in calcium and vitamin D to build up bone mass.
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