Vitamin D Fracture Risk Questioned in New Government Recommendations

Vitamin D is the wonder supplement of the now, but the supplement’s role in preventing fractures in older women may have been overstated, according to new recommendations from a government agency overseeing health guidelines.

New Vitamin D recommendations issued by the US Preventive Services Task Force indicate that the supplement may not be of much use in preventing bone fractures related to osteoporosis in older women, regardless of whether the Vitamin D contains calcium.

The US Preventive Services Task Force indicates that Vitamin D supplements with or without calcium also have no proven benefit in preventing cancer in older women. WebMD indicates that the agency’s “one definitive recommendation is that after menopause, women should not take 400 international units (IU) or less of vitamin D and 1,000 milligrams of calcium,” in order to stave off osteoporosis-related fractures, and that it has not yet been determined what effect larger doses may have.

The site quotes US Preventive Services Task Force member Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, MD, who explains the new Vitamin D recommendations:

“There isn’t evidence to suggest that 400 IU of vitamin D plus 1,000 milligrams calcium can prevent fractures among postmenopausal women who do not live in assisted living or nursing home facilities… We know that vitamin D is important, and that a healthy lifestyle should include sources of vitamin D. It’s just not good for preventing fractures at the doses studied.”

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Ethel S. Siris, MD, is the director of the Toni Stabile Osteoporosis Center at Columbia University Medical Center in New York, and she tells the medical site of the new US Preventive Services Task Force Vitamin D recommendations:

“It is good that they are holding back on cancer, but on the bone side, calcium or vitamin D deficiency is not good.”

Patients are advised to speak to their physician before making any Vitamin D-related changes.