2010. Bergman GJ et al. – Efficacy of vitamin D3 supplementation in preventing fractures in elderly women: A meta-analysis


Bergman GJ, Fan T, McFetridge JT, Sen SS. Efficacy of vitamin D3 supplementation in preventing fractures in elderly women: A meta-analysis. Curr Med Res Opin. 2010;26(5):1193-201.


See full article


BACKGROUND: The efficacy of vitamin D(3) in preventing fractures and falls has been explored in a number of clinical trials. However, recent evidence revealed new questions about the adequate doses of vitamin D(3) supplementation and its efficacy in fracture prevention independent of calcium supplements for various types of fractures.

OBJECTIVE: To conduct a meta-analysis to estimate the effectiveness of 800 IU daily vitamin D(3) supplementation for increasing bone mineral density (BMD) and preventing fractures in postmenopausal women.

METHODS: Medline and EMBASE were searched for controlled trials comparing the effectiveness of cholecalciferol (vitamin D(3)) against placebo with or without background calcium supplementation in the treatment of postmenopausal women.

RESULTS: Eight controlled trials evaluating the effect of vitamin D(3) supplementation with or without calcium were assessed. Of 12 658 women included in a Bayesian meta-analysis, 6089 received vitamin D(3) (with or without calcium) and 6569 received placebo (with or without calcium). Compared to placebo, vitamin D(3) with calcium supplementation showed beneficial effects on the incidence of non-vertebral (odds ratio [OR] 0.77, 95% credibility limit [CL] 0.6-0.93) and hip (OR 0.70, 95% CL 0.53-0.90) fractures, while the effects on non-vertebral-non-hip fractures (OR 0.84, 95% CL 0.67-1.04) % point increase) were associated with more uncertainty. Vitamin D(3) supplementation showed a 70% probability of being a better treatment than placebo for the prevention of non-vertebral fractures, hip fractures, and non-vertebral, non-hip fractures. Compared to calcium supplementation, vitamin D(3) plus calcium reduced non-vertebral fractures (OR 0.68, 95% CL 0.43-1.01) and non-vertebral, non-hip fractures (OR 0.64, 95% CL 0.38-0.99), but did not reduce hip fractures (OR 1.03, 95% CL 0.39-2.25). Key limitations to this analysis include a small number of studies and heterogeneity in the study populations.

CONCLUSIONS: This meta-analysis supports the use of vitamin D3 of 800 IU daily to reduce the incidence of osteoporotic non-vertebral, hip, and non-vertebral-non-hip fractures in elderly women. Vitamin D(3) with calcium appears to achieve benefits above those attained with calcium supplementation alone for non-vertebral and non-vertebral-non-hip fractures.