(HealthDay News) – Analyses of data from individual patients and trials indicate that vitamin D supplementation in combination with calcium is linked to a reduction in mortality for elderly adults, but this effect is not seen for vitamin D alone.

To assess mortality for older adults (median age, 70 years) randomized to vitamin D or vitamin D plus calcium, Lars Rejnmark, MD, PhD, DrMedSci., from Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark, and colleagues conducted individual patient data (IPD) and trial level meta-analyses using pooled data from randomized controlled trials.

Based on the IPD analysis from eight trials involving 70,528 randomized participants (86.8% female), the researchers found that there was a reduction in mortality associated with vitamin D with or without calcium (hazard ratio [HR], 0.93; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.88–0.99). Taken alone, vitamin D had no impact on mortality, but the risk of death was reduced for vitamin D given in combination with calcium (HR, 0.91; 95% CI, 0.84–0.98). Similar results were seen in a trial level meta-analysis involving 24 trials with 88,097 participants: mortality was reduced for vitamin D in combination with calcium (odds ratio [OR], 0.94; 95% CI, 0.88–0.99) but not for vitamin D alone (OR, 0.98; 95% CI, 0.91–1.06).

“Our IPD analysis and trial level meta-analysis consistently showed reduced mortality in elderly participants randomized to vitamin D supplements in combination with calcium, whereas the analyses based on existing interventions and trial populations did not support an effect of vitamin D alone,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry, including companies that market calcium and vitamin D supplements.

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