Taking vitamin D and calcium supplements may not help prevent bone fractures in postmenopausal women, according to a new report from a government-appointed panel of experts. The report found no evidence that taking up to 400 international units (IUs) of vitamin D and 1,000 milligrams of calcium supplements a day reduced the risk of fracture in healthy postmenopausal women. However, more research is needed to determine whether or not higher supplement doses can prevent fractures, the task force said.
There was also insufficient evidence to recommend for or against use of vitamin D and calcium supplements at any dose level to prevent fractures in men, or in women before they enter menopause, the task force said.
The recommendations are only intended for healthy people, and not for individuals living in nursing homes or other institutionalized settings, the task force said. Ultimately, the decision about whether or not take vitamin D or calcium supplements should be made between a patient and his or her doctor, said Dr. The Institute of Medicine said people need between 600 and 800 IUs of vitamin D a day, and between 700 and 1,300 mg of calcium a day, depending on their age. The task force recommends taking a vitamin D supplement containing about 800 IUs for the prevention of falls in older adults ages 65 and over who are at risk for falls because they are vitamin D deficient or because they have a history of a recent fall. The task force also recommends screening women ages 65 and older for osteoporosis as well as younger women who are at an increased risk for fractures. About 50 percent of postmenopausal women will suffer a fracture related to osteoporosis during their lifetime, and fractures in older adults increase the risk of death, the task force said. Because calcium helps build bone, and vitamin D helps bones absorb calcium, doctors frequently recommend taking vitamin D and calcium supplements to prevent fractures.
The new report reviews the results of six trials in which adults were randomly assigned to take daily vitamin D and calcium supplements or a placebo.
The largest study involved 36,282 postmenopausal women ages 50 to 79 who took either 400 IUs of vitamin D and 1,000 mg of calcium daily or a placebo. After the development of the new task force recommendations, a new review study was published that suggested that vitamin D doses of 800 IUs or more reduced the risk of fractures in people ages 65 and older. An across-the-board recommendation for vitamin D and calcium supplementation in adults is hard to make because people differ in their risk for fractures and kidney stones, said Dr.
The best way to get vitamin D is through foods such as milk, yogurt, cheese and foods fortified with calcium, according to the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research. Pass it on: Postmenopausal women should not take low doses of vitamin D (400 IUs or less) and calcium (1000 mg or less) to prevent fractures. As you stand in front of the shelves in the pharmacy perusing the bottles of calcium tablets, you see a calcium phosphate supplement. The best sources of calcium in the diet are dairy products such as milk and cheese, with dark green, leafy vegetables following close behind. When you eat foods containing calcium, your body breaks the food down during the process of digestion.
Among the various forms of calcium available as supplements, calcium citrate and calcium carbonate appear to the most easily absorbed by the body. Calcium supplements are typically made from either naturally occurring sources such as bone meal or oyster shells or made from minerals combined with other substances to form calcium citrate, calcium carbonate, or calcium phosphate supplement tablets. Among the various types of vitamin D, vitamins D2 and D3 are considered the most important for health.
With all the supplements lining the pharmacy shelves, most people are only concerned with which one they should buy. According to The Calcium Information Center, calcium phosphate contains approximately 38% available calcium compared to similar doses and tables of calcium citrate and calcium carbonate, which each contain 40% available calcium.


The choice of which calcium supplement to take is a personal one, but calcium phosphate on its own appears to be more expensive and slightly less effective than other forms. A Flexible Spending Account (FSA) allows consumers to deduct pre-tax dollars from their paychecks and deposit those funds in employer-sponsored accounts to pay for medical expenses.
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Our Full Product Catalog featuring over 100 products and details on our services is available right here. For years, doctors have been recommending post-menopausal women take vitamin D and calcium supplements–but a federal panel of experts are now saying these supplements may not prevent fractures or broken bones.
A 2011 Institute of Medicine report said 1,200 milligrams of calcium is the recommended intake for post-menopausal women, yet, according to the task force, any supplemental calcium may not result in any benefit. Task force member Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition, food studies, and public health at New York University, wrote an editorial that accompanied the recommendations in the journal. The panel found studies that varied widely on how much and when people took their supplements.
The panel´s recommendations received criticism from some organizations, including the Council for Responsible Nutrition, one of the dietary supplement industries leading trade associations. No matter what course of action people decide to take–most experts recommend people consult with their doctors before stopping, or starting, a supplement regimen. In fact, the report found that these doses of vitamin D and calcium slightly increased the risk of kidney stones. Linda Baumann, a professor emerita at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Nursing, and a member of the task force panel. While most people in the United States get enough vitamin D and calcium, older adults sometimes fall short of the recommendations and need to increase their intake through food or with a supplement.
Surveys estimate that close to 60 percent of women ages 60 and over take vitamin D supplements or calcium supplements. After seven years, women who took vitamin D and calcium supplements were just as likely to sustain a fracture as women who took the placebo. But this finding did not always hold when the researchers took into account other factors that may have influenced the risk of fractures, such as whether or not participants were taking calcium supplements as well. Neil Roth, an orthopedic surgeon at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York who was not involved in the new report. Healthy adults who get enough vitamin D through their diet and sunlight exposure don't need to take supplements for bone health, said Dr.
She has a masters degree in journalism from New York University's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program.
Other sources of calcium include various fortified foods, such as calcium-fortified cereals and orange juice. The process of digestion begins in the mouth, with food passing from the mouth through the esophagus to the stomach for the next phase of digestion, and then from the stomach to the small intestine. Calcium phosphate is most often combined with vitamin D to create one supplement for bone health. If your doctor orders such a test, the resulting information may lead him to recommend supplementation or another course of treatment. Lead and heavy metals have been found in so-called natural sources of calcium such as bone meal and oyster calcium supplements, so you may wish to choose other sources of calcium. People with a history of kidney stones should not take calcium supplements as they may increase the risk of getting another stone.


And as with all supplements, vitamins and herbs, tell your doctor or health care provider about any and all products you are taking, and ask for advice on supplements if you have any long-standing medical condition or are taking any prescription medications. They added there is not enough evidence to suggest the supplements would help men or higher doses of the supplements would benefit either men or women.
In it, she discussed the research review process by which the panel arrived at the series of recommendations. They also found because most studies are focused on osteoporosis in white women, there's no good data on men or minorities. More studies need to be conducted with higher vitamin D doses to confirm the results, Baumann said.
Among doctors, recommending these supplements seemed logical because they are low-cost, relatively low-risk, and provide a potential benefit, Roth said. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in molecular biology and a Master of Science in biology from the University of California, San Diego. Your body cannot make its own calcium, but must obtain it from the foods you eat or from supplements. Too little calcium may lead to osteoporosis, or weakening of the bones that can lead to fractures, and other health problems. Today, with more and more people concerned about the risk of skin cancer, and with more people working indoors during daylight hours, few people get enough direct sunlight exposure to make enough D3. Your doctor may also recommend a calcium phosphate and vitamin D3 supplement if you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis, rickets, or hypoparathyroidism (an under active parathyroid gland). Recent studies published in the American Journal of Nutrition and cited on the Calcium Information Center report that the body could just as easily absorb less expensive calcium supplements as others. Preventive Services Task Force, said healthy postmenopausal women should not take vitamin D and calcium supplements at or below these dosage levels (400 IUs for vitamin D and 1,000 mg for calcium) for the purpose of preventing fractures.
For every 273 women who took the supplements, one developed a kidney stone, the researchers said. But before recommending supplements, doctors should take into consideration how much vitamin D patients get from their diet, from multivitamins and from time spent in the sun, as well as their risk of future fractures and kidney stones, Roth said.
But those at high risk of facture, such as elderly adults living in nursing homes who get little sunlight exposure, should be taking supplements, Rosen said. The number of calcium supplements continues to grow, and many people are confused about which type of calcium supplement to take. Calcium works in tandem with other vitamins and minerals to form strong bones and healthy teeth. Some supplements such as calcium citrate may be taken on an empty stomach, but others, including calcium phosphate supplement pills, should be taken with food for best absorption. Some medications such as prednisone may also decrease the amount of circulating calcium in the blood; this supplement may be recommended if you are taking such medications.
It's also essential for blood clotting, proper functioning of the nerves, and muscle contraction. It is most often combined with vitamin D to create one supplement taken upon the recommendation of a doctor to treat certain medical conditions or offset the calcium-lowering effects of prescription medications.



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