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Should You Stop Taking Your Calcium Supplement?

Nutrition Diva shares her thoughts on the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force's new recommendations on calcium and vitamin D supplements.

By
Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS
June 14, 2012

Should You Stop Taking Your Calcium Supplement?

When the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force came out this week with their new recommendations on calcium and vitamin D supplements, you could almost hear women all over the country hurling their calcium bottles at their television (or computer) screens in frustration and confusion. I don’t blame them.

Basically, after 20 years of take-your-calcium dogma and nagging, they are doing a complete 180-degree turn. They are now saying that if you are past menopause, there’s no point in taking calcium + D as a hedge against osteoporosis--at least not in the standard dosage of 1000mg calcium + 400IU vitamin D. Having re-evaluated the evidence, they’ve concluded with “moderate to high certainty” that taking these supplements doesn’t reduce your risk of fractures…but it may increase your risk of kidney stones or heart attacks. As for higher dosages, well, they can’t say for sure whether they are any more effective in preventing fractures—so it’s impossible to say whether the potential benefits outweigh the established risks. And if you haven’t yet reached menopause or you’re a man, you’re not off the hook (yet).

So, what should you do now? For the moment: nothing. Despite all the media hoopla, this statement is considered a draft, with public comment invited until July 10th.  But you know what? None of this really changes the advice I had for you on calcium or on Vitamin D in recent episodes. While you’re waiting for the other shoe to drop, why not refresh your memory? (It’ll make you feel better.)

Are you Getting Enough Calcium (or Are You Getting Too Much?)

How to Get Vitamin D
 

Calcium Supplements photo from Shutterstock

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