Task Force recommends against using vitamin D, calcium to prevent fractures

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Task Force recommends against using vitamin D, calcium to prevent fractures

By Michael Johnsen - 04/17/2018
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force on Tuesday recommended against the supplementation of vitamin D or calcium in an effort to prevent fractures or falls in older adults. Instead, the Task Force suggested clinicians advise their patients to exercise or to seek a physical therapy service.

"We found that taking low doses of vitamin D and calcium does not prevent women who have gone through menopause from getting fractures," Carol Mangione, a Task Force member, said. The Task Force based the recommendation after reviewing the evidence on supplementation for the primary prevention of fractures in adults who live at home and have no history of fractures related to osteoporosis. “We need more research to understand if taking higher doses of vitamin D or calcium helps to prevent fractures in women who have gone through menopause — or at any dose for men or younger women.”

Vitamin D and calcium are critical nutrients nonetheless, the Council for Responsible Nutrition stated in response to the Task Force recommendation, though the association did not counter the specific recommendations. "CRN reminds consumers that no one is exempt from the need to obtain adequate amounts of vitamin D and calcium. Both nutrients are critical to overall health, especially bone health, and most people do not get enough of either," Andrea Wong, vice president scientific and regulatory affairs, CRN, said. "We also remind consumers to talk with their doctors or other healthcare practitioners about developing their own individualized plan that evaluates their vitamin D and calcium status for possible deficiency and considers the potential benefits of supplementation, especially those people at risk of osteoporosis or vitamin D deficiency.”

The Task Force is an independent, volunteer panel of national experts in prevention and medicine that works to improve the health of all Americans by making evidence-based recommendations about clinical preventive services such as screenings, counseling services and preventive medications.