Vitamin D, Calcium, or Combined Supplementation for the Primary Prevention of Fractures in Community-Dwelling Adults: Evidence Report and Systematic Review for the US Preventive Services Task Force

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Abstract

Importance

Osteoporotic fractures result in significant morbidity and mortality.

Objective

To update the evidence for benefits and harms of vitamin D, calcium, or combined supplementation for the primary prevention of fractures in community-dwelling adults to inform the US Preventive Services Task Force.

Data Sources

PubMed, EMBASE, Cochrane Library, and trial registries through March 21, 2017; references; and experts. Surveillance continued through February 28, 2018.

Study Selection

English-language randomized clinical trials (RCTs) or observational studies of supplementation with vitamin D, calcium, or both among adult populations; studies of populations that were institutionalized or had known vitamin D deficiency, osteoporosis, or prior fracture were excluded.

Data Extraction and Synthesis

Dual, independent review of titles/abstracts and full-text articles and study quality rating using predefined criteria. Random-effects meta-analysis used when at least 3 similar studies were available.

Main Outcomes and Measures

Incident fracture, mortality, kidney stones, cardiovascular events, and cancer.

Results

Eleven RCTs (N = 51 419) in adults 50 years and older conducted over 2 to 7 years were included. Compared with placebo, supplementation with vitamin D decreased total fracture incidence (1 RCT [n = 2686]; absolute risk difference [ARD], −2.26% [95% CI, −4.53% to 0.00%]) but had no significant association with hip fracture (3 RCTs [n = 5496]; pooled ARD, −0.01% [95% CI, −0.80% to 0.78%]). Supplementation using vitamin D with calcium had no effect on total fracture incidence (1 RCT [n = 36 282]; ARD, −0.35% [95% CI, −1.02% to 0.31%]) or hip fracture incidence (2 RCTs [n = 36 727]; ARD from the larger trial, −0.14% [95% CI, −0.34% to 0.07%]). The evidence for calcium alone was limited, with only 2 studies (n = 339 total) and very imprecise results. Supplementation with vitamin D alone or with calcium had no significant effect on all-cause mortality or incident cardiovascular disease; ARDs ranged from −1.93% to 1.79%, with CIs consistent with no significant differences. Supplementation using vitamin D with calcium was associated with an increased incidence of kidney stones (3 RCTs [n = 39 213]; pooled ARD, 0.33% [95% CI, 0.06% to 0.60%]), but supplementation with calcium alone was not associated with an increased risk (3 RCTs [n = 1259]; pooled ARD, 0.00% [95% CI, −0.87% to 0.87%]). Supplementation with vitamin D and calcium was not associated with an increase in cancer incidence (3 RCTs [n = 39 213]; pooled ARD, −1.48% [95% CI, −3.32% to 0.35%]).

Conclusions and Relevance

Vitamin D supplementation alone or with calcium was not associated with reduced fracture incidence among community-dwelling adults without known vitamin D deficiency, osteoporosis, or prior fracture. Vitamin D with calcium was associated with an increase in the incidence of kidney stones.

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