Vitamin D plus calcium may reduce vertebral fractures

October 26, 2012

Calcium plus vitamin D supplementation is associated with a decreased risk of vertebral fractures, says a new US study.

The study is a 12 year follow up (1) of a randomized controlled trial (‘Women’s Health Initiative’), which assessed whether the consumption of 1,000 mg of calcium plus 400 IU of vitamin D per day or a placebo for 7 years reduces the risk of hip fracture. The participants included more than 36,000 women aged 50 to 79 (2). While after 7 years a modest but non-significant decrease in hip, vertebral, and total fracture risk was seen in the supplement group, during the additional 5 years the annual rate of clinical vertebral fractures decreased by 13% compared to the placebo group. Among women who reported taking at least 80% of the study drug, there was a significant decrease of 23% in the occurrence of hip fracture.


  1. Cauley J. et al. The Women's Health Initiative calcium plus vitamin D supplementation trial: Health outcomes 5 years after trial completion. American Society for Bone and Mineral Research. 2012; Abstract 1136.
  2. Jackson R. D. et al. Calcium plus vitamin D supplementation and the risk of fractures. Women's Health Initiative Investigators. N Engl J Med. 2006; 354(7):669–683.