Vitamin D Doesn’t Prevent Bone Loss in Black Women

A new study finds vitamin D supplements don’t seem to prevent bone loss in postmenopausal black women.

Although it is known Vitamin D is important for calcium maintenance, researchers have been uncertain on an optimal amount.

Researchers from Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola, N.Y., compared bone loss in postmenopausal black women taking vitamin D3 supplements (20 micrograms per day) and those not taking supplements. The study participants — 208 healthy black women, between ages 50 and 75 — all received calcium supplements to ensure a total calcium intake of 1,200 to 1,500 milligrams per day. After two years, the dose of vitamin D was raised to 50 micrograms per day. Bone mineral density (BMD) was measured every six months for three years.

The study shows there was no significant difference in BMD in women taking vitamin D and those taking placebo. Both groups had an increase in BMD in total body, hip and forearm at one year. But over the full three years of the study, BMD declined at these sites from 0.26 percent to 0.55 percent.

The researchers report, “Our study demonstrated a lack of benefit of vitamin D supplementation on loss of skeletal mass in calcium-sufficient African American women in midlife.”

Further studies are needed to see if these findings also apply to women of other ethnic groups.

SOURCE: Archives of Internal Medicine, 2005;165:1618-1623

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