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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Boston, Massachusetts » Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #358020

Research Project: Nutrients, Aging, and Musculoskeletal Function

Location: Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging

Title: Issues of trial selection and subgroup considerations in the recent meta-analysis of Zhao and colleagues on fracture reduction by calcium and vitamin D supplementation in community-dwelling older adults

Author
item Bischoff-ferrari, Heike - University Of Zurich
item Dawson-hughes, Bess - Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging At Tufts University
item Willett, Walter - Harvard University

Submitted to: Osteoporosis International
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/22/2018
Publication Date: 6/12/2018
Citation: Bischoff-Ferrari, H., Dawson-Hughes, B., Willett, W.C. 2018. Issues of trial selection and subgroup considerations in the recent meta-analysis of Zhao and colleagues on fracture reduction by calcium and vitamin D supplementation in community-dwelling older adults. Osteoporosis International. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00198-018-4587-5.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00198-018-4587-5

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Summary: Zhao and colleagues are addressing an important question about the efficacy of calcium and vitamin D on fracture risk reduction among community-dwelling adults age 50+. However, we are concerned about four aspects of their approach, which may affect the validity of their conclusions and implications for public health. Introduction: We discuss the recent meta-analysis by Zhao and colleagues on the primary prevention of fractures of calcium and vitamin D as well as their combination among community-dwelling adults age 50+. Methods: Zhao and colleagues included 33 trials that recruited a total of 51,145 community-dwelling participants age 50 years and older, including any randomized clinical trial with a placebo or no treatment in the control group. Results: The authors found no significant association of calcium and/or vitamin D with risk of hip fracture compared with placebo or no treatment and concluded that the routine use of calcium, vitamin D, and the combination in community-dwelling older people is not supported by their findings. We discuss four concerns regarding this meta-analysis, including the target population, the selection of trials with regard to blinding and duration of follow-up, and the lack of adjustment for adherence to the interventions and subgroup analysis by bolus versus daily dosing for vitamin D. Conclusion: Based on the four concerns raised in this letter and the fact that there will be a manyfold increase in the data on vitamin D supplementation in community-dwelling senior adults from large ongoing trials, we believe that it is too early to recommend the cessation of vitamin D with or without calcium for the prevention of fractures among community-dwelling adults.