Vitamin D to prevent fractures questioned

Feb. 25, 2013 at 11:06 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, Feb. 25 (UPI) -- A U.S. panel says small doses of vitamin D3 and calcium supplements don't help prevent fractures in post-menopausal women and the jury's out on larger doses.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an independent volunteer panel of national experts working to improve the health of Americans, issued a final recommendation on vitamin D3 and calcium supplements for the prevention of fractures.

The task force recommends against daily supplements of less than 400 International Units of vitamin D3 and less than 1,000 mg of calcium in post-menopausal women because it found current evidence is insufficient to justify the regimen.

It also found there's not enough evidence to make a recommendation on vitamin De and calcium supplements for the prevention of fractures for men and pre-menopausal women.

"Vitamin D and calcium are known to play an important role in maintaining health, including bone health. However, despite the large number of studies done there are few conclusive answers about the ability of vitamin D and calcium supplements to prevent fractures," Dr. Virginia Moyer, task force member, said in a statement.

"The task force determined the evidence is inconclusive that higher doses of vitamin D and calcium supplements are effective in preventing fractures in postmenopausal women.

Dr. Jessica Herzstein, another task force member, said it's important to remember this recommendation applies to people who do not have a known vitamin D deficiency or osteoporosis.

The task force's recommendation was published online in the Annals of Internal Medicine and is at: www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org.

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