Vitamin D and calcium do not reduce fracture risk says government panel
Many postmenopausal women take daily Vitamin D and calcium supplements with the goal of reducing the risk of fracture; however, a new government study found no benefit from the supplements for healthy postmenopausal women. In addition, they noted that taking the supplements slightly increased the risk of kidney stones. Researchers affiliated with the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) published their findings online on February 26 in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine
The USPSTF noted that approximately 50% of postmenopausal women will suffer a fracture related to osteoporosis during their lifetime, and fractures in older adults increase the risk of death. Because calcium helps build bone, and Vitamin D helps bones absorb calcium, physicians frequently recommend taking Vitamin D and calcium supplements to prevent fractures. Surveys estimate that almost 60% of women aged 60 and over take Vitamin D supplements or calcium supplements. However, whether these supplements actually prevent fractures was not clear. For the study, the USPSTF commissioned two systematic evidence reviews and a meta-analysis on Vitamin D supplementation with or without calcium to assess the effects of supplementation on bone health outcomes in community-dwelling adults, the association of Vitamin D and calcium levels with bone health outcomes, and the adverse effects of supplementation.