Background: Low bone mineral density (BMD) is prevalent in adults with cystic fibrosis and might be related to calcium and vitamin D malabsorption from the gastrointestinal tract. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of calcium and vitamin D supplementation on BMD and bone metabolism in these subjects.
Methods: Patients were invited to participate if they had a BMD Z score of -1 or less in the lumbar spine, proximal femur or distal forearm. Patients were randomised to receive calcium 1 g+vitamin D 800 IU or placebo daily, in addition to their regular vitamin D supplements (900 IU/day). BMD and bone biochemical markers were measured before and after 1 year of treatment.
Results: After 12 months, the treatment group (n=15) showed a reduced rate of bone loss compared with the control group (n=15) in the lumbar spine (mean difference 1.9% [CI -0.9% to 4.6%]), total hip (mean difference 0.7% [CI -2.2% to 3.5%]) and distal forearm (mean difference 1.7% [CI -2.2% to 5.5%]), but these changes did not reach statistical significance. There was also a trend towards a reduction in bone turnover in the treatment group.
Conclusions: Calcium and vitamin D supplementation reduced the rate of bone turnover and bone loss in adult patients with cystic fibrosis, but these changes did not reach statistical significance. These data suggest that a longer term trial of this simple intervention would be justified.