Researchers report that women on hormone replacement therapy who also took daily supplements of calcium and vitamin D had a significant reduction in hip fractures compared to those taking hormone replacement therapy plus placebo.
Worldwide, 1 in 3 women over the age of 50 will experience an osteoporosis related fracture, as will 1 in 5 men, according to the International Osteoporosis Foundation.
Lead author Dr John Robbins, professor of medicine at the University of California at Davis, and colleagues used data from the Women’s Health Study which includes postmenopausal women aged 50 -79. About 16,000 women, some of which were using hormone replacement therapy (HRT)– taking either estrogen alone or estrogen and progesterone together – participated in the calcium and vitamin D portion of the study. The researchers randomly assigned the women to take either 1,000 milligrams of calcium and 400 IU vitamin D every day.
The women who were on HRT who also took daily vitamin D and calcium had a 57% reduction in the rate of hip fractures compared to women who took a placebo.
“We found that women who were on hormones had less hip fractures, and women who were on hormones and calcium and vitamin D supplements had even fewer hip fractures,” Dr Robbins explains.
For women who were on HRT and taking supplements, the rate of hip fracture was 11 per 10,000 women per year. Women who took only HRT the rate was 18 per 10,000. Interestingly, those who were on supplements alone had a hip fracture rate of 25 per 10,000.