Bone FractureVitamin D

Vitamin D and prevention of osteoporotic fractures

Writing for the California Technology Assessment Forum, Dr. Jeffrey Tice at the University of California has reviewed vitamin D and calcium as an option to lower the risk of osteoporotic fractures.

Here’s what we know.

Osteoporotic fractures

  • In the United States, the estimated direct cost for care of patients suffering osteoporotic fractures was $17 billion in 2005.
  • Hip and vertebral fractures cause significant disability and are associated with increased mortality.

Vitamin D

  • Vitamin D alone is ineffective, but vitamin D plus calcium reduces total fractures by 14% and hip fractures by 18%.
  • The form of vitamin D used and the dose does not alter the efficacy of vitamin D plus calcium therapy.
  • 400 to 800 IU of vitamin D taken daily with 1000 to 1200 mg of calcium reduces fractures by approximately 14%.
  • The greatest benefits are in people at high risk for fracture — those over 70 or those with prior osteoporotic fractures.
  • Kidney stones are more common, but the absolute increase was small.

The bottom line?

There is a trend towards lower mortality in patients receiving vitamin D therapy.

Accordingly, Dr. Tice concludes, “Use of vitamin D combined with calcium meets California Technology Assessment Forum technology assessment… for safety, effectiveness, and improvement in health outcomes for the prevention of osteoporotic fractures.”

8/9/11 20:28 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.