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Systematic review with meta-analysis
Combined vitamin D and calcium supplementation may reduce fracture risk in institutionalised older people but has uncertain role in cancer prevention
  1. Terry J Aspray1,2,
  2. Roger M Francis2
  1. 1Musculoskeletal Unit, Freeman Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
  2. 2Institute for Ageing and Health, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
  1. Correspondence to: Roger M Francis
    Institute for Ageing and Health, Newcastle University, Campus for Ageing and Vitality, Newcastle upon Tyne NE4 5PL, UK; Roger.Francis{at}

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Vitamin D deficiency is common in older people, where it may contribute to the development of fractures. It has also been implicated in the pathogenesis of cancer, because of the effects of vitamin D on immune function and cell proliferation and differentiation. Previous research suggests that vitamin D supplementation may reduce the risk of fractures and cancer, but the results of these studies have been inconsistent.


Chung and colleagues examined the relationship between vitamin D and the incidence of fractures and cancer. The present study provides an update to a previous analysis performed for the Institute of Medicine.1 The authors performed a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of the effects …

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  • Competing interests TJA and RMF have been principal investigators in clinical trials of and vitamin D supplementation, with and without calcium. RMF was also a member of the DIPART Group, which performed a meta-analysis of the antifracture efficacy of vitamin D supplementation. RMF has received speaker's honoraria from Shire Pharmaceuticals, who have also provided an educational travel grant to TJA.