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Calcium supplements cut fracture risk

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Calcium supplements alone, or in combination with vitamin D, significantly reduce fracture risk in those aged over 50, according to Australian researchers.

Calcium supplements alone, or in combination with vitamin D, significantly reduce fracture risk in those aged over 50, according to Australian researchers.

They suggested nurses could be key to getting the best results through maintaining treatment compliance. Researchers carried out a meta-analysis of 17 studies involving 52,625 people. They estimated that 63 patients would need to be treated over 3.5 years to prevent one fracture.

This estimate decreased to 30 or fewer in individuals who were elderly or lived in institutions such as nursing homes or hospitals. The authors said these patients may have benefited more due to nurses being on hand to make sure they took their supplements when required.

'Poor compliance is a major obstacle to obtaining the full benefit of calcium supplementation,' they said. 'For best therapeutic effect, we recommend minimum [daily] doses of 1,200mg of calcium, and 800 IU of vitamin D,' they added.

Lancet(2007)370: 657-666

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