(HealthDay News) – Calcium plus vitamin D supplementation does not reduce the frequency or severity of joint symptoms in women, according to a study published online Aug. 19 in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Rowan T. Chlebowski, MD, PhD, from Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, CA, and colleagues examined a subgroup (6%) of 1,911 participants in the Women’s Health Initiative, oversampled for minorities, who had serial joint symptom assessment. Questionnaires at baseline and two years after randomization to calcium carbonate (1,000mg as elemental calcium) with vitamin D-3 (400 IU) daily or placebo assessed qualitative information on joint pain and joint swelling.

The researchers found that, at baseline, total calcium and vitamin D intakes from diet and supplements as well as joint pain and swelling were similar between the two groups. After two years of follow-up, there were no statistically significant differences between the two groups for joint pain frequency (74.6% and 75.1% [P=0.79] for supplement and placebo groups, respectively) or joint swelling frequency (34.6% and 32.4%, respectively; P=0.29) or in severity scores for either outcome. Subgroup analyses suggested that study participants also using non-protocol calcium supplements at baseline may have less joint pain with supplement group randomization (interaction P=0.02).

“Daily supplementation with 1,000mg calcium carbonate and 400 IU vitamin D-3 in a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial setting did not reduce the self-reported frequency or severity of joint symptoms,” the authors write.

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