Vitamin D plus calcium can cut deaths
Vitamin D with calcium has been shown to reduce death rates in the elderly.
A recent study suggests that vitamin D - when taken with calcium - can reduce the rate of mortality in seniors, therefore providing a possible means of increasing life expectancy.
During the past decade, there has been increasing recognition of the potential health effects of vitamin D. It is well known that calcium with vitamin D supplements reduces the risk of fractures.
The study assessed mortality among patients, who took either vitamin D alone or vitamin D with calcium. The results found that the reduced rate of death was not due to a lower number of fractures, but represents a beneficial effect beyond the reduced fracture risk.
The researchers focused on information from eight randomised trials involving over 8,000 participants in total. The participants were almost 90% women, with an average age of 70 years.
Over a three-year period, death among the participants was reduced by 9% in those treated with vitamin D with calcium.
"This is the largest study ever performed on effects of calcium and vitamin D on mortality," said Dr Lars Rejnmark from Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark, who led the study.
"Our results showed reduced mortality in elderly patients using vitamin D supplements in combination with calcium, but these results were not found in patients on vitamin D alone."
"Some studies have suggested calcium (with or without vitamin D) supplements can have adverse effects on cardiovascular health," said Dr Rejnmark.
"Although our study does not rule out such effects, we found that calcium with vitamin D supplementation to elderly participants is overall not harmful to survival, and may have beneficial effects on general health".
The study was published in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism (JCEM).
[Posted: Sun 17/06/2012]