The panel of volunteer experts that advises the U.S. government on health issues said there was no evidence to confirm whether the supplements help prevent cancer.
The draft is being distributed solely for the purpose of prerelease review. It does not represent and should not be interpreted to represent a determination or policy of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources, officials said. Clinicians should understand the evidence but individualize decision making to the specific patient or situation, the panel said.
The task force concluded current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of the benefits and harms of combined vitamin D and calcium supplementation for the primary prevention of fractures in pre-menopausal women or in men.
The task force previously concluded in a separate recommendation that vitamin D supplementation is effective in preventing falls in adults age 65 or older who are at increased risk for falls.
Additionally, the task force concluded evidence was lacking regarding the benefit of vitamin D supplementation, with or without calcium, for the primary prevention of cancer -- and the balance of benefits and harms cannot be determined.
The draft statement is available for comment June 12 until July 10, 2012, at 5 p.m. EDT.