Supplements Containing Vitamin D and Calcium May Not Reduce Fracture Risk

PillsBy Emily Murray

Whether you have an in depth understanding of nutrition or a very basic one, you’ve likely heard that calcium and vitamin D are imperative for bone health. Why then are we now learning that supplements containing these two supposed bone-boosters may provide very little benefit for the majority of the population?

It comes down to research conducted by an independent group of experts known as the U.S. Preventive services task force. The typical amount of vitamin D (400 IU) and calcium (1000 mg) in the average supplement does nothing to lower the risk of fractures in post-menopausal women. That’s what the group can state for sure, when it comes to younger women and men, the results have proven inconclusive since they were not the focus of this recent research.

Is what we get naturally enough? Typically we receive calcium in our diet and vitamin D from the sunlight, but the idea that supplementing each is beneficial is one that appears to be falling short. It appears that most of us who eat a healthy diet and get outdoors often enough are doing just fine when it comes to bone health maintenance.

So what is the task force recommending? They now advise against the use of supplements that provide less than 400 IU of Vitamin D and fewer than 1000 mg of calcium per day. It appears that many who believed they were boosting their bone health are actually doing little more than adding to the income of the already booming nutritional supplement business. Does this mean we should be taking these supplements in higher dosages to see results?

The group can’t make a recommendation for more than the mentioned amounts since supplementing with too much of either of these can actually have a detrimental effect on health.

To add further fuel to the fire, it has also recently been announced that calcium supplements may do even more harm when it comes to the arteries. Several studies have suggested that supplementation may result in elevated blood calcium levels that in turn may block the arteries.

The study excludes women who have been instructed to take supplements for pre-existing osteoporosis.