High-Dose Vitamin D Might Reduce Bone Mineral Density

High-dose vitamin D supplements don’t appear to improve bone mineral density in healthy adults and may even have a negative impact, according to a JAMA study.

Some 300 healthy adults aged 55 to 70 years were randomized to receive 400, 4000, or 10,000 IU of oral cholecalciferol daily for 3 years.

Higher dose vitamin D (10,000 IU and 4000 IU) was associated with greater bone mineral density loss at the radius than 400 IU daily (-7.5 and -3.9 mg hydroxyapatite/cm3, respectively). The 10,000-IU dose, but not the 4000-IU dose, was also associated with significant reductions at the tibia. Patients receiving higher doses were at higher risk for hypercalcemia and hypercalciuria. Bone strength didn’t differ among groups.

The authors conclude: “These findings do not support a benefit of high-dose vitamin D supplementation for bone health; further research would be needed to determine whether it is harmful.”


JAMA article (Free abstract)


By Kelly Young

Edited by David G. Fairchild, MD, MPH, and Lorenzo Di Francesco, MD, FACP, FHM