Fortification or supplementation programmes to increase levels of calcium and vitamin D could prevent almost 200,000 fractures per year in Europe – saving €3.96 billion in avoidable healthcare costs.
A new report from Frost & Sullivan has found that higher intakes of calcium and vitamin D for a target population of over 55s could save €19.8 billion in healthcare costs over five years, and provide a return of €3.47 in savings for every €1 spent on supplements or fortification.
The new report – commissioned by Food Supplements Europe but carried out independently – provides analysis of the costs and savings that the use of a 1,000 mg calcium plus 15 μg vitamin D supplements could bring to European Union Member States when targeted to the ‘at risk’ over 55’s population, where there is an increased possibility of fractures and associated costly medical treatment.
It noted that recent evidence has shown the combination of calcium and vitamin D can reduce the incidence of osteoporosis related fractures by around 15% with an EFSA approved risk reduction claim on the loss of bone mineral density, “which may contribute to a reduction in the risk of osteoporotic bone fracture” relating to an intake of at least 1200 mg of calcium and 800 I.U. [20 μg/day] of vitamin D from all sources.
“Over several decades, a significant amount of clinical research has been conducted showing that the daily use of calcium and vitamin D food supplements is highly correlated to a lower risk of experiencing an osteoporosis attributed fracture,” said Ingrid Atteryd, chair of Food Supplements Europe. “This new analysis, for the first time, demonstrates that more widespread supplementation with these nutrients could also save many billions of euros in avoidable healthcare costs.”
“The EU’s population is ageing and without taking action the number of bone fractures attributed to osteoporosis will almost certainly rise. As such it has never been more important to leverage the substantiated benefits of calcium and vitamin D to help minimise the financial burden of this disease on healthcare systems across Europe,” she added.
The new Frost & Sullivan study is the second indepth analysis commissioned by Food Supplements Europe to examine the positive impact of supplementation on EU healthcare costs. Last year, its first report highlighted possible €12.9 billion a year savings on spending for cardiovascular disease through more widespread consumption of omega 3 EPA+DHA supplements by people aged 55 or over.
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