The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog is intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    Vitamin D and prevention of osteoporotic fractures

    Writing for the California Technology Assessment Forum, Dr. Jeffrey Tice at the University of California has reviewed vitamin D and calcium as an option to lower the risk of osteoporotic fractures.

    Here’s what we know.

    Osteoporotic fractures

    • In the United States, the estimated direct cost for care of patients suffering osteoporotic fractures was $17 billion in 2005.
    • Hip and vertebral fractures cause significant disability and are associated with increased mortality.

    Vitamin D

    • Vitamin D alone is ineffective, but vitamin D plus calcium reduces total fractures by 14% and hip fractures by 18%.
    • The form of vitamin D used and the dose does not alter the efficacy of vitamin D plus calcium therapy.
    • 400 to 800 IU of vitamin D taken daily with 1000 to 1200 mg of calcium reduces fractures by approximately 14%.
    • The greatest benefits are in people at high risk for fracture — those over 70 or those with prior osteoporotic fractures.
    • Kidney stones are more common, but the absolute increase was small.

    The bottom line?

    There is a trend towards lower mortality in patients receiving vitamin D therapy.

    Accordingly, Dr. Tice concludes, “Use of vitamin D combined with calcium meets California Technology Assessment Forum technology assessment… for safety, effectiveness, and improvement in health outcomes for the prevention of osteoporotic fractures.”

    8/9/11 20:28 JR

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