Panel Questions Value Of Low-Dose Calcium, Vitamin D Pills

WASHINGTON (February 25, 2013)--New recommendations from a government advisory group say healthy older women shouldn't bother with relatively low-dose dietary supplements.

Calcium and vitamin D are crucial for healthy bones and the experts advise getting as much as possible from a good diet.

The body also makes vitamin D from sunshine.

If an older person has a vitamin deficiency or bone-thinning osteoporosis, doctors often prescribe higher-than-normal doses, but for otherwise healthy postmenopausal women, adding modest supplements to their diet don't prevent broken bones but can increase the risk of kidney stones.

The recommendations are from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

The guidelines say it isn't clear if those modest doses offer bone protection if taken before menopause, or if they help men's bones.

The panel concluded there's not enough evidence to tell whether higher-dose supplements would prevent fractures, either, in an otherwise healthy person and urged more research to settle the issue.

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