Calcium supplements and vitamin D may extend senior citizens' life expectancy, new research suggests. According to a report published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, the results of a large Danish study shows that Vitamin D extends life expectancy but only if combined with calcium supplements. Such findings are good news for people hoping to extend their golden years.
Lars Rejnmark from Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark and colleagues made the connection after conducting a study designed to assess mortality among patients whom took vitamin D and calcium or vitamin D alone. Therefore, researchers recruited 70,528 elderly Danish patients for participation in one of a series of research trials wherein they received either Vitamin D or Vitamin D and calcium.
Over a course of 3 years, research showed that participants who took vitamin D and calcium were able to lower their mortality risk whereas vitamin D alone had no such effect. Rejnmark's team was able to demonstrate that when taken together vitamin D and calcium are able to increase senior citizens' life expectancy.
Calcium and vitamin D are essential nutrients that play an important role in such processes as signal transduction, muscle contractions, bone mineralization, etc. Thus, it stands to reason that maintaining healthy levels of both nutrients could increase longevity.
Seniors may be particularly aware that these nutrients help prevent osteoporosis and thus protect the aging skeletal system from bone fractures and possible mortality.
However caution is waranted. While the results of the Danish study are very remarkable, it's important to bear in mind that other research shows that calcium supplements can have adverse effects on the body.
Indeed, results from Women's Health Initiative/Vitamin D Calcium Study (WHI CaD Study) established that calcium supplements increas heart disease risk in post menopausal women.
Based on results of that study, it would appear that calcium supplements may not be as healthy as calcium from dietary sources e.g. milk, cheese, sardines, orange juice and other foods.
Therefore, in light of the drastically different outcomes of the WHI CaD Study and the Danish vitamin D and calcium trial, people may take the time to carefully consider the risks versus benefits of vitamin D and calcium supplements.
For more information about dietary calcium, please visit Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Calcium from the National Institutes of Health's Office of Dietary Supplements.
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Rejnmark L, Avenell A, Masud T, Anderson F, Meyer HE, Sanders KM, Salovaara K, Cooper C, Smith HE, Jacobs ET, Torgerson D, Jackson RD, Manson JE, Brixen K, Mosekilde L, Robbins JA, Francis RM, & Abrahamsen B (2012). Vitamin D with Calcium Reduces Mortality: Patient Level Pooled Analysis of 70,528 Patients from Eight Major Vitamin D Trials. The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism PMID: 22605432
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