Calcium and vitamin D vital in preventing osteoporosis: ASMI


calcium and vitamin d: woman in the sunshine

The Australian Self Medication Industry says today’s World Osteoporosis Day shines the spotlight on calcium and vitamin D and the vital role they play in preventing osteoporosis.

“There is a substantial body of research that demonstrates vitamin D, in combination with calcium, can reduce the risk of osteoporosis and is of benefit in preventing osteoporosis-attributed fractures,” says Steve Scarff, ASMI Regulatory and Scientific Affairs Director.

“Vitamin D is essential for the body to absorb calcium effectively, which is important for bone health and muscle function and for preventing conditions such as osteoporosis.

“Sufficient vitamin D intake is particularly important in low-light conditions, as the body’s ability to synthesise the compound is dependent on exposure to sunlight.

“Older adults are recommended to have at least 10 to 15 micrograms of vitamin D per day in their diet,” says Scarff.

“However, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, nearly a quarter of Australians, or one in four people, have a vitamin D deficiency.

“The 2011-13 Australian Health Survey found that one in 20 people used a vitamin D supplement and that vitamin D deficiency was much lower in those who took a supplement. For people who aren’t obtaining adequate vitamin D from natural sources such as sunlight, supplementation is a highly effective way to fill the gap.”

Scarff cited the Australian Therapeutic Guidelines: Endocrinology state: “Calcium supplementation can reduce the rate of bone loss. Supplementation may also reduce fracture rates. The benefit is most marked in older women with a low dietary calcium intake but without previous fragility fractures. For fracture benefit plasma vitamin D concentration needs to be optimised as well as calcium”.

A recent study by Frost and Sullivan reviewed seven randomised controlled studies that tested for a cause and effect relationship between utilisation of vitamin D and calcium supplements and osteoporosis-attributed bone fractures, he says.

The study found that the relative risk reduction of an osteoporosis-attributed fracture event given the use of vitamin D and calcium at preventive intake levels was 19.7%.

“Australians who are unsure about their calcium and vitamin D intake are encouraged to talk to a qualified healthcare professional, who can provide advice on ways to monitor and if needed, increase calcium and vitamin D levels,” says Scarff.

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