Low doses of vitamin D, calcium won't ward off broken bones in older women - Omaha.com
Published Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at 1:00 am / Updated at 3:35 am
Low doses of vitamin D, calcium won't ward off broken bones in older women

Older women shouldn't bother taking low doses of calcium and vitamin D supplements to prevent broken bones, a government advisory group said Monday.

Both nutrients are crucial for healthy bones, and specialists 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 — about 400 international units of vitamin D and 1,000 milligrams of calcium — doesn't prevent broken bones, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force said Monday.

It's unclear, the task force said, whether higher doses of vitamin D and calcium are effective in preventing fractures in postmenopausal women, younger women or men.

Dr. Sundeep Khosla, a past president of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research, said the recommendations aren't for everyone.

“If you've already had a fracture or already had osteoporosis based on bone density, these don't apply to you,” said Khosla, an endocrinologist and a scientist at the Mayo Clinic who wasn't part of the task force.

Calcium and vitamin D work together, and people need a lifetime of both to build and maintain strong bones. Vitamin D is also being studied for possibly preventing cancer and certain other diseases, something that Monday's guidelines don't address.

Dr. Robert Heaney, a longtime physician, researcher and professor at the Creighton University School of Medicine, said the task force looked at the nutrients as if they were drugs, where the burden of proof is to show that they are better than nothing.

Instead, he said, researchers should look at our ancestors' levels of vitamin D and calcium and then show that any levels lower than those are safe.

The average person's vitamin D levels and calcium intake are about a third of what people had under primitive conditions, Heaney said. “Why would you want to court danger by proposing that we don't need anywhere near what our ancestors got?” he asked.

The Institute of Medicine's 2011 recommended dietary allowances for calcium call for the average adult to get about 1,000 mg of calcium (1,200 mg for women 51 and older) every day. Khosla said the best way to get that is through low-fat dairy products and other foods.

For vitamin D, the institute says, the goal is 600 IUs every day (800 IUs for people older than 70).

Heaney said he takes 3,000 IUs of vitamin D per day but doesn't take calcium supplements because he consumes three or four servings a day of dairy products.

“I strongly recommend food sources,” he said. “Supplements are not a substitute for food.”

This report includes material from the Associated Press.

Contact the writer: 402-444-1109, bob.glissmann@owh.com


Contact the writer: Bob Glissmann

bob.glissmann@owh.com    |   402-444-1109    |  

Bob covers health and medicine and whatever else comes up.

Intoxicated man with pellet gun climbs billboard's scaffold; is arrested
Last day of 2014 Legislature: Praise, passage of a last few bills and more on mountain lions
'The war is not over,' Chambers says, but legislative session about is
A recap of what got done — and what didn't — in the 2014 legislative session
PAC funded by Senate candidate Ben Sasse's great-uncle releases Shane Osborn attack ad
Teen killed at Gallagher Park was shot in head as he sat in SUV, friend who was wounded says
When judge asks, Nikko Jenkins says ‘I killed them’
New UNO center strengthens ties between campus, community
Threat found in Millard West bathroom deemed 'not credible'
New public employee pay data: Douglas, Lancaster, Sarpy Counties, plus utilities
Nebrasks health officials to advertise jobs via drive-thru
Coral Walker named Omaha police officer of the year
Sarah Palin, Mike Lee coming to Nebraska for Ben Sasse rally
Prescription drug drop-off is April 26
Database: How much did Medicare pay your doctor?
Rather than doing $250K in repairs, owner who lives in lot behind 94-year-old house in Dundee razes it
NB 30th Street lane closed
State Patrol, Omaha police conduct vehicle inspections
Bernie Kanger formally promoted to Omaha fire chief
U.S. House incumbents have deeper pockets than their challengers
Nancy's Almanac, April 17, 2014: Trees save money
Ex-Iowan behind landmark free speech case recounts story in Bellevue
Gov. Heineman signs water bill; sponsor calls it 'landmark legislation'
Senate candidate Shane Osborn to include anti-tax activist Norquist in telephone town hall
Kelly: New $24M UNO center embodies spirit of newlywed crash victim
< >
Kelly: Creighton's McDermotts put good faces on an Omaha tradition
A comical roast Wednesday night in Omaha brought fans of Creighton basketball laughter by the bucketful. This time it was McJokes, not McBuckets, that entertained the Bluejay crowd.
Breaking Brad: At least my kid never got stuck inside a claw machine
We need a new rule in Lincoln. If your kid is discovered inside the claw machine at a bowling alley, you are forever barred from being nominated for "Mother of the Year."
Breaking Brad: How many MECA board members can we put in a luxury suite?
As a stunt at the Blue Man Group show, MECA board members are going to see how many people they can stuff into one luxury suite.
Kelly: New $24M UNO center embodies spirit of newlywed crash victim
Jessica Lutton Bedient was killed by a drunken driver at age 26 in 2010. Thursday, the widowed husband and other family members will gather with others at the University of Nebraska at Omaha to dedicate a permanent memorial to Jessica.
Breaking Brad: How much would you pay for a corn dog?
The Arizona Diamondbacks have a new concession item: a $25 corn dog. For that kind of money, it should be stuffed with Bitcoin.
Deadline Deal thumbnail
Dr. Welbes Natural Health Clinic
$129 for 2 LipoLaser Sessions with Additional Complimentary Services ($605 value)
Buy Now
< >
Omaha World-Herald Contests
Enter for a chance to win great prizes.
OWH Store: Buy photos, books and articles
Buy photos, books and articles
Travel Snaps Photo
Going on Vacation? Take the Omaha World-Herald with you and you could the next Travel Snaps winner.
Click here to donate to Goodfellows
The 2011 Goodfellows fund drive provided holiday meals to nearly 5,000 families and their children, and raised more than $500,000 to help families in crisis year round.
Want to get World-Herald stories sent directly to your home or work computer? Sign up for Omaha.com's News Alerts and you will receive e-mails with the day's top stories.
Can't find what you need? Click here for site map »