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Calcium Plus Vitamin D Supplementation Does Not Reduce Joint Symptoms in Postmenopausal Women

2013-08-15

According to New Study Published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Media Contacts: Ryan O'Malley, Allison MacMunn
800/877-1600, ext. 4769, 4802 media@eatright.org

August 15, 2013 – A team of investigators systematically analyzed the effect of calcium and vitamin D supplementation on joint symptoms in a rigorous and controlled study of postmenopausal women. They found that supplementation did not reduce the severity of joint symptoms reported by the participants. Their results are published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

The influence of low calcium and vitamin D deficiency on joint symptoms has been studied with mixed results. Only some observational studies have associated vitamin D with knee osteoarthritis and results from full-scale randomized trials have been sparse. "In the current study, we addressed for the first time in a full-scale, randomized clinical trial setting, the clinically relevant question of whether postmenopausal women using calcium and vitamin D supplements in currently recommended dosage would experience any favorable effect on joint pain or swelling, common symptoms in postmenopausal women," says lead investigator Rowan T. Chlebowski, MD, PhD, Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, California.

Using data from the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) calcium plus vitamin D supplementation trial, researchers identified a subgroup of 1,911 postmenopausal women for the current study, who had been randomized to receive calcium carbonate with vitamin D3 daily or placebo and had undergone serial joint symptom assessment. Responses to a questionnaire provided qualitative information on joint pain and joint swelling before entry and two years after randomization.

Between the daily supplement use and placebo groups, joint pain and swelling at baseline entry was comparable, at more than 70 percent. After two years, analysis revealed no statistically significant difference for the frequency or severity of joint pain or swelling.

The research team also evaluated data to determine the potential for interaction with age, BMI (body mass index), physical activity, non-protocol calcium and vitamin D supplement use, race/ethnicity, and hormone therapy. Investigators found no interaction with age, BMI, race/ethnicity, or physical activity. No significant interaction was evident with non-protocol vitamin D supplement use at entry. However, participants using non-protocol calcium supplements at entry reported less joint pain compared with those in the placebo group. The influence of calcium and vitamin D supplementation individually on joint symptoms was not determined because both were provided combined in a single pill in this trial.

Dr. Chlebowski concludes, "Joint symptoms are relatively common in postmenopausal women. However, daily supplementation with 1,000 mg of calcium carbonate and 400 IU of vitamin D3 in a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial setting did not reduce the self-reported frequency or severity of joint symptoms."

Dr. Chlebowski and his team add that these findings do not speak against current recommendations for vitamin D intakes for bone health and fracture risk reduction.

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NOTES FOR EDITORS

“Calcium Plus Vitamin D Supplementation and Joint Symptoms in Postmenopausal Women in the Women’s Health Initiative Randomized Trial,” Rowan T. Chlebowski, Mary Pettinger, Karen C. Johnson, Robert Wallace, Catherine Womack, Yasmin Mossavar-Rahmani, Marcia Stefanik, Jean Wactawski-Wende, Laura Carbone, Bing Lu, Charles Eaton, Brian Walitt, Charles L. Kooperberg. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, DOI: 10.1016/j.jand.2013.06.007, published by Elsevier. 

 

Full text of this article is available to credentialed journalists upon request. Contact Eileen Leahy at 732-238-3628 or andjrnlmedia@elsevier.com to obtain copies. Journalists wishing to set up interviews with the authors should contact Laura Mecoy, Communications Consultant, Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute, at 310-546-5860, 310-529-7717, or lmecoy@labiomed.org.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Rowan T. Chlebowski, Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, CA

Mary Pettinger, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA

Karen C. Johnson, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Department of Preventive Medicine, Memphis, TN

Robert Wallace, University of Iowa College of Public Health, Iowa City, IA

Catherine Womack, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Memphis, TN and University of TN Health Science Center

Yasmin Mossavar-Rahmani, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY

Marcia Stefanick, Stanford Prevention Research Center, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA

Jean Wactawski-Wende, The State University of New York, Buffalo, NY

Laura Carbone, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Memphis, TN and University of TN Health Science Center

Bing Lu, Brigham and Women's Hospital Harvard Medical School, Boston MA

Charles Eaton, Brown University, Providence, RI

Brian Walitt, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington DC

Charles L. Kooperberg, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA

 

ABOUT THE JOURNAL OF THE ACADEMY OF NUTRITION AND DIETETICS

The official journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (www.eatright.org), the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (www.andjrnl.org) is the premier source for the practice and science of food, nutrition and dietetics. The monthly, peer-reviewed journal presents original articles prepared by scholars and practitioners and is the most widely read professional publication in the field. The Journal focuses on advancing professional knowledge across the range of research and practice issues such as: nutritional science, medical nutrition therapy, public health nutrition, food science and biotechnology, food service systems, leadership and management and dietetics education.

 

The Journal has a current Impact Factor of 3.797 in the Nutrition and Dietetics category of the 2012 Journal Citation Reports®, published by Thomson Reuters. It was previously published as the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

 

ABOUT THE ACADEMY OF NUTRITION AND DIETETICS

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (www.eatright.org), formerly the American Dietetic Association, is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. The Academy is committed to improving the nation’s health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy.

 

ABOUT ELSEVIER

Elsevier is a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services. The company works in partnership with the global science and health communities to publish more than 2,000 journals, including The Lancet (www.thelancet.com) and Cell (www.cell.com), and close to 20,000 book titles, including major reference works from Mosby and Saunders. Elsevier’s online solutions include ScienceDirect (www.sciencedirect.com), Scopus (www.scopus.com), SciVal (http://info.scival.com) Reaxys (www.elsevier.com/reaxys), ClinicalKey (www.clinicalkey.com) and Mosby’s Suite (www.confidenceconnected.com), which enhance the productivity of science and health professionals, helping research and health care institutions deliver better outcomes more cost-effectively.

 

A global business headquartered in Amsterdam, Elsevier (www.elsevier.com) employs 7,000 people worldwide. The company is part of Reed Elsevier Group plc (www.reedelsevier.com), a world leading provider of professional information solutions. The group employs more than 30,000 people, including more than 15,000 in North America. Reed Elsevier Group plc is owned equally by two parent companies, Reed Elsevier PLC and Reed Elsevier NV. Their shares are traded on the London, Amsterdam and New York Stock Exchanges using the following ticker symbols: London: REL; Amsterdam: REN; New York: RUK and ENL.