Recent information published in the British medical journal Lancet, supports using calcium and vitamin D supplementation to prevent fractures and bone loss in older people. A 12% reduction in bone fractures linked to osteoporosis was seen in people aged 50 and older who used calcium and Vitamin D supplements. Osteoporotic fractures are common with one in six people over the age of 50 experiencing this type of fracture in their lifetime. In people over 70, the occurence of a bone fracture, particularly of the hip is associated with a very high risk of mortality. One study showed a one year mortality of about 33% in elderly people after hip fracture. To achieve the bone benefits from supplements the researchers recommend a daily dose of 1,200 mg of calcium and 800 IU of vitamin D for people over 50.
The staff of metabolism.com wants to add a warning to people shopping for calcium and vitamin D supplementation. When shopping for these items be aware that there is a great variation in price among the various brands of supplements. The higher price brands often claim to be significantly better than cheaper competitors in terms of absorption and results. Be aware that many of these claims are false or exaggerated. Why spend $12 for 50 coral calcium pills when 100 Tums (calcium carbonate) can be gotten for half the price? If coral calcium is actually 20% better absorbed then calcium carbonate then an extra Tums per day will more than balance off any difference.
Here’s more on the once yearly osteoporosis treatment. The drug is Zometa (zoledronic acid), marketed by Novartis and is sometimes referred to as Vitamin Z. It is given once a year intravenously by an office procedure taking only a few minutes. Side-effects are reported to be minimal but may include transient decrease in kidney function. In a three year study the effect of the drug was at least as good if not better than that seen with the oral medications such as Fosomax and Actonel. Fracture of the spine was reduced by 70% whereas the oral medications only achieve a 50% reduction.
One possible drawback was the occurrence of a non-fatal heart arrythmia which was more common with Vitamin Z than with placebo (the dummy medicine).
Don’t expect to find Vitamin Z in the pharmacy any time soon. It hasn’t been approved by the FDA for routine use in treatment of osteoporosis. Rumor has it that a yearly dose will cost around $1000, not including the doctor’s charge for giving it intravenously.
Only you and your doctor can decide the best treatment for you. Consult your physician before initiating any treatment program.
According to unreliable sources the FDA will be reviewing Ramona (Ramonabant aka Acomplia) in June. If approved by the FDA this weight loss medication may be available in the United States within a few weeks after that. As for now all we can do is wait…and wait. I am disappointed at how few people have contributed lyrics to the Ramona song. Give it a try (see what has been written so far at the bottom of this post).
A new treatment for osteoporosis which is given by injection once a year is the subject of a research paper soon to be released. Expected cost is about $1000. This may simplify the lives of many women now taking pills for osteoporsis every week or month.