More to Question about Calcium and Vitamin D Supplements for Bone Health
For decades, health care guidelines and medical experts have recommended that older adults take a calcium with vitamin D supplement to strengthen their bones and prevent a bone fracture. Osteoporosis is a disease in which the bones weaken, leading to an increase in the risk of a fracture. It is more common in older adults, and especially in women after menopause. An important preventive health care goal for older adults is to prevent a hip fracture, one of the most devastating and feared consequences of osteoporosis.
Calcium and vitamin D intake is believed to maintain bone health and reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis. To prevent bone loss in men and women, the National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends an intake of 1000 mg of calcium per day up to age 70 years and 1200 mg per day thereafter, and 800 to 1000 units per day or more of vitamin D for people age 50 and older. Because most people cannot get enough calcium and vitamin D on a daily basis through the foods they eat, calcium and vitamin D supplements are considered almost universally necessary. However, over the years, research that has evaluated the benefit of calcium and vitamin D supplements in reducing the risk of bone fractures has found inconsistent results. The safety of these supplements also has been questioned. Several studies published in 2010 to 2013 found a possible association between calcium supplements and increased risk of heart attack. In contrast, dietary intake of calcium showed no such relationship.
A new study sheds light on the value of calcium and vitamin D supplements to reduce the risk of bone fractures and most importantly hip fractures.