The Long Road Back: Building Better Bones – Vitamin D Supplementation

By | April 16, 2014

The administration of exogenous vitamin D is highly effective in treating Rickets in children but it is only minimally effective in treating osteoporosis in the elderly.

The administration of exogenous vitamin D is highly effective in treating Rickets in children but it is only minimally effective in treating osteoporosis in the elderly.

The use of vitamin D in the treatment of osteoporosis is in my opinion emblematic of the failure of medical therapy in this disease. It is based on faulty logic and the desperation that comes from not having a truly effective therapy. The logic is that if a deficiency of vitamin D can cause a form of osteoporosis (Rickets) perhaps giving a surplus of the same vitamin can strengthen weak bones. The studies were done and in fact the researchers found a statistically significant increase in bone density. The problem was that this difference was not clinically significant. It is critical to understand this difference. The average increase in bone density was only 5-10% in patients who were on the order of 50% deficient. This was not enough to change the clinical course of the patients, but statistical significance does not ask that question. It asks only if there is at least a 5% chance that the small change that was observed could have been to random variation alone. At Schlesinger Pain Centers we are interested primarily in treatments that are both statistically and clinically significant.


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