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Calcium and low-dose vitamin D: No benefit for joints, new study says

Posted on: August 22, 2013   by  Vitamin D Council


A new look at the Women’s Health Initiative has found that calcium and low dose vitamin D supplementation are of no benefit for joint pain.

The Women’s Health Initiative was a randomized controlled trial that administered 1,000 mg of calcium and 400 IU of vitamin D per day or placebo pills for 7-11 years to over 36,000 postmenopausal women. Researchers created this study mainly to see if calcium was of any benefit for bone health compared to taking placebo pills.

Since the completion of the trial, researchers have looked at the collected data a number of different ways, including the effects of calcium and vitamin D on bone health, side effects and cancer incidence.

Here in this analysis, researchers wanted to know if calcium and vitamin D had any effect on joint pain. They looked at 1,911 women who were suffering from joint pain at the start of the trial. They then followed the women, in this analysis, for two years. They wanted to know after two years, were the women on supplements any better off than the women taking placebo pill?

They found that there was no benefit in calcium and low dose vitamin D supplementation for joint pain or joint swelling.

While the participants took enough calcium to see if had an effect, the participants likely did not take enough vitamin D to put vitamin D to the test.

But Dr. Rowan T. Chlebowski, lead author of the study, also said, “We’re wearing down over time, and there’s not much to be done about it.”


Bakalar N. Supplements Fail to Relieve Joint Pain in Study. NY Times, 2013

Chlebowski RT et al. Calcium Plus Vitamin D Supplementation and Joint Symptoms in Postmenopausal Women in the Women’s Health Initiative Randomized Trial. J of the Acad of Nutr and Dietetics, 2013.

3 Responses to Calcium and low-dose vitamin D: No benefit for joints, new study says

  1. John

    ZZZZZzzzzz Distracters of the benefits of vitamin D and profiteers of low vitamin D will try anything to discredit the importance vitamin D.

  2. Rita and Misty

    Bone health depends on many different variables. Calcium may not be the most important.

    These may be more important than calcium:

    1. Vitamin D
    2. Boron
    3. Magnesium
    4. Zinc
    5. Silica
    6. Selenium

    These are just a few of the most important nutrients. There are more. An alkalizing diet is also very important. As is EXERCISE (especially resistance exercise); and of course, adequate sleep.

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