Data on the association between vitamin D status and osteoporotic fracture in Asians are sparse. We conducted a 6-year cohort study of 773 community-dwelling elderly Japanese women and found that serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) >/= 71 nmol/L was associated with a reduced risk of osteoporotic limb and vertebral fractures.

INTRODUCTION: Data on the association between vitamin D status and osteoporotic fracture in Asians are sparse. This study aimed to clarify the association between vitamin D and other markers of nutritional status with the incidence of fracture in elderly Japanese women.

METHODS: We conducted a cohort study with a 6-year follow-up of 773 community-dwelling women aged 69 years and older. The 6-year follow-up ended in 2009. We assessed serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D, undercarboxylated osteocalcin (an index of vitamin K status), and calcium intake. The primary outcome was incident limb and vertebral fractures. Covariates were forearm bone mineral density (BMD), age, body mass index, osteoporosis treatment, and physical activity.

RESULTS: The mean serum 25(OH)D concentration was 60.0 nmol/L. Thirty-seven limb fractures and 14 vertebral fractures occurred in 4,392 person-years. Lower forearm BMD was significantly associated with increased incident fracture (P = 0.0242). The adjusted hazard ratios (HR) of fracture for the first quartile (<47.7 nmol/L) and the third quartile (59.2-70.9 nmol/L) of serum 25(OH)D, compared to the fourth quartile (>/=71.0 nmol/L), were 2.82 (95% confidence interval (CI), 1.09-7.34) and 2.82 (95%CI, 1.09-7.27), respectively. The pooled adjusted HR was 0.42 (95%CI, 0.18-0.99) when the incidence in the fourth quartile (>/=71.0 nmol/L) was compared to the other three quartiles combined (<71.0 nmol/L). Vitamin K status and calcium intake were not associated with incident fracture.

CONCLUSIONS: Sufficient vitamin D status, i.e., serum 25(OH)D >/= 71 nmol/L, is associated with low limb and vertebral fracture risk in community-dwelling elderly women.

Keywords: Osteoporosis - vitamin D, vitamin K, calcium