Calcium and vitamin D in preventing fractures: Vitamin K supplementation has powerful effect

BMJ 2005; 331 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.331.7508.108 (Published 07 July 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:108
  1. Thomas E Radecki, psychiatrist (c4tf{at}hotmail.com)
  1. 705 W Oregon, Urbana, IL 61801, USA

    EDITOR—Porthouse et al conducted a good randomised controlled trial of calcium and supplementation with cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) for prevention of fractures in primary care.1 However, vitamin D and calcium are not enough.

    No mention was made of the extensive research from Japan and the Netherlands, which shows that vitamin K supplementation has a powerful effect in decreasing osteoporosis and osteoporosis related fractures. Combining vitamin K, vitamin D, and calcium seems ideal.

    Researchers from Osaka Medical College showed that vitamin K and vitamin D together increased bone density much better than vitamin K alone.2

    When comparing calcium and vitamin D alone with placebo, researchers at the University of Maastricht found little benefit on bone loss. But those randomised to take vitamin K in addition to calcium and vitamin D had significantly less femoral neck bone loss after three years.3

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    The Yamaguchi osteoporosis prevention study showed that vitamin K alone reduced vertebral fractures by 56% compared to placebo, comparable to the benefit found from etidronate.4

    Researchers at Hirosaki University in Japan showed that vitamin K lowered bone fractures in elderly female patients with Parkinson's by 90%.5 The same research team showed an 86% decrease in fractures in elderly patients with Alzheimer's treated with a combination of vitamin K, vitamin D, and calcium compared with placebo.w1

    If the medical standard became to first use vitamins D and K with calcium before using bisphosphonates or selective oestrogen receptor modulators, the public would save billions of dollars a year.


    • Embedded ImageAdditional reference on bmj.com

    • Competing interests None declared.


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