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Calcium, Vitamin D are not harmful for older adults

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Calcium, Vitamin D are not harmful for older adults
Calcium, Vitamin D are not harmful for older adults. wikimedia commons
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New Delhi, Dec 27, 2017:  After a study by researchers in China claimed that supplements containing calcium, vitamin D or both may not protect older adults against bone fractures, doctors in India have said that these supplements are not harmful for people at risk of osteoporosis, a condition that causes bones to become weak and brittle.

“There is no harm in giving calcium and vitamin D supplements to women after menopause who may be at increased risk of osteoporosis,” Pradeep Sharma, Head of Orthopaedics at BLK Super Speciality Hospital in New Delhi told IANS in a telephonic conversation.

The study, by researchers in China and published in the journal JAMA, involved data from more than 50,000 adults who were over 50 years of age.

They were participants in 33 randomised clinical trials comparing supplement use — calcium, vitamin D or both — with placebo or no treatment and new fractures.

Jia-Guo Zhao of Tianjin Hospital in China, and co-authors did a meta-analysis of the studies.

A meta-analysis combines the results of multiple studies identified in a systematic review and quantitatively summarises the overall association between the same exposure (supplements containing calcium, vitamin D or both) and outcomes (fracture) across all studies.

The researchers found that supplements were not associated with less risk for new fractures, regardless of the dose, the sex of the patient, their fracture history, calcium intake in their diet or baseline vitamin D blood concentrations.

“These findings do not support the routine use of these supplements (containing calcium, vitamin D, or both) in community-dwelling older adults,” the study said.

Responding to the findings, Sharma said that while doctors should guard against rampantly prescribing these supplements to anyone, those older adults with weaker bones can be given these supplements.

He said that there are tests to find out the extent of weakness in the bones, and supplements can be prescribed at the right dose after proper assessment.

“Usually, an orthopaedic recommends a combination of calcium and vitamin D supplement to the older adults because both the combinations are two major nutrients to the bone health. Unfortunately, seniors are much vulnerable to calcium and vitamin D deficiency as compared to younger people because of the changes that occur with advancing age,” said Avtar Singh, an orthopaedic surgeon at Amandeep Hospital in Amritsar, Punjab.

“Vitamin D and calcium are necessary for better bone health and we often prescribe these in the form of supplements. However, it is always more beneficial to take these in the diet forms,” said Aashish Chaudhry, an orthopedic surgeon at Aakash Healthcare in New Delhi.

“Vitamin D helps body to use calcium. This in turn helps bolster bone health,” Chaudhry said.

People who have achieved their peak bone mass can also follow few exercises and a healthy diet routine to lower the risk of brittle bones and fracture, according to the experts.

While sunlight is considered the best source for vitamin D, some vegetables can also help boost the level of this vitamin.

“The recommended daily intake of vitamin D for most adults is 600 IU (international units), or 800 IU after age 70. It is hard to expect from older people to do enough regular exercise and get adequate sunshine or even adjust their diet accordingly. Hence, it is advisable to take these supplements,” Chaudhry said. (IANS)

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Sunscreens May Cause Vitamin D Deficiency

However, it is important to forgo sunscreen during these sessions because SPF 15 or greater decreases Vitamin D3 production by 99 per cent, the researchers said

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Wear a sun block (at least SPF 30) especially in coastal areas or while you're in water as body tends to feel more burn in scorching heat when you are in water. Pixabay

While sunscreens are known to protect against skin cancer, they may be inadvertently making you deficient in Vitamin D, causing muscle weakness and bone fractures, researchers warned.

According to the study, published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, nearly one billion people worldwide may be having deficient or insufficient levels of Vitamin D due to inadequate sun exposure related to sunscreen use.

“People are spending less time outside and, when they do go out, they’re typically wearing sunscreen, which essentially nullifies the body’s ability to produce Vitamin D,” said Kim Pfotenhauer, Assistant Professor at Touro University in California.

“While we want people to protect themselves against skin cancer, there are healthy, moderate levels of unprotected sun exposure that can be very helpful in boosting Vitamin D,” Pfotenhauer said.

summer
You don’t need to go sunbathing at the beach to get the benefits. A simple walk with arms and legs exposed is enough for most people. Pixabay

In addition, the study also showed that chronic diseases like Type 2 Diabetes and those related to malabsorption, including kidney disease, Crohn’s and celiac disease greatly inhibit the body’s ability to metabolise Vitamin D from food sources.

Considered a hormone rather than a vitamin, Vitamin D is produced when skin is exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D plays a wide role in the body’s functions, including cell growth modulation, neuromuscular and immune function and inflammation reduction.

Spending as much as five-30 minutes in midday sun twice per week may help increase and maintain healthy Vitamin D levels.

Also Read: Overuse of Beauty Creams Causes Acne, Damages Skin: Expert

However, it is important to forgo sunscreen during these sessions because SPF 15 or greater decreases Vitamin D3 production by 99 per cent, the researchers said.

“You don’t need to go sunbathing at the beach to get the benefits. A simple walk with arms and legs exposed is enough for most people,” Pfotenhauer noted. (Bollywood Country)