Panel Questions Value of Calcium, Vitamin D Pills

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

New recommendations from a government advisory group say healthy older women shouldn't bother with relatively low-dose dietary supplements.

Calcium and vitamin D are crucial for healthy bones and specialists advise getting as much as possible from a good diet.

The body also makes vitamin D from sunshine. If an older person has a vitamin deficiency or bone-thinning osteoporosis, doctors often prescribe higher-than-normal doses.

But for otherwise healthy postmenopausal women, adding modest supplements to their diet don't prevent broken bones but can increase the risk of kidney stones.

The recommendations are from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. The guidelines say it isn't clear if those modest doses offer bone protection if taken before menopause, or if they help men's bones.

And what about higher-dose supplements that have become more common recently? The panel concluded there's not enough evidence to tell if they would prevent fractures, either, in an otherwise healthy person. It's urging more research to settle the issue.

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