Task Force Questions Use of Vitamin D, Calcium Supplements

Government advisory panel finds insufficient evidence to support protective role of supplements

TUESDAY, June 12 (HealthDay News) -- Current evidence is insufficient to support the use of vitamin D and calcium supplements to protect against cancer or osteoporotic fractures, according to a draft recommendation issued by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF).

The draft recommendation, which is not a final recommendation and should not be taken as an Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality policy or determination, was made after the USPSTF reviewed recent research studies regarding the effectiveness of vitamin D and calcium supplements in preventing cancer and staving off fractures related to osteoporosis.

The task force did not find enough evidence to determine that vitamin D and calcium supplementation ward off cancer. Evidence was also lacking to recommend use of such supplements to protect men and premenopausal women from fracture, or to suggest that larger doses of vitamin D and calcium can protect against fracture in postmenopausal women. Furthermore, while lower doses do not appear to protect against fractures in older women, they may put some at risk for developing kidney stones.

With regard to low-dose supplements and fractures, "the science is still out for premenopausal women and men," panel member Timothy J. Wilt, M.D., M.P.H., of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, said in a statement. "Many people take the supplements, but the science was insufficient to make recommendations for everyone."

Draft Recommendation Statement

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