Vitamin D, calcium may not prevent fractures
Postmenopausal women might not diminish their risk of bone fractures at all by taking vitamin D and calcium supplements. That’s the conclusion of a study from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force which found that postmenopausal women who took up to 400 international units of vitamin D and 1,000 milligrams of calcium every day for seven years were just as likely to sustain a bone fracture as women who took placebo vitamins. Plus, the women who took the supplements had a slightly increased risk of kidney stones.
The calcium and vitamin D combination is often recommended to patients of all ages because calcium has been shown to strengthen bones and vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium. This study, however, calls into question an ‘across-the-board’ recommendation of calcium and vitamin D supplements for all adults because people differ in their risk for bone fractures and kidney stones.
Ultimately, the decision to whether or not to take daily supplements of vitamin D and calcium should be made between a patient and his or her doctor, the researchers said.
The study did not assess the efficacy of vitamin D and calcium supplements against fractures on men or on healthy premenopausal women.