Contrary to what doctors have been recommending for years, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force announced this week that healthy postmenopausal women should not take daily low doses of vitamin D and calcium to prevent bone fractures because there is insufficient research to show benefit, and the supplements may even be linked to a slightly increase risk for kidney stones and heart attacks.
In its draft recommendation statement, called “Vitamin D and Calcium Supplementation to Prevent Cancer and Osteoporotic Fractures,” which evaluated evidence from 17 studies, the task force concluded that there was "adequate evidence" that taking 400 International Units of vitamin D in combination with 1,000 milligrams of a calcium supplements had no effect on the risk of osteoporotic fractures. But the task force found evidence that this combination of supplements could increase a woman's risk for developing kidney stones, though the increased risk is small.
In its draft recommendation, the panel also noted that existing research is insufficient to assess the risks or benefits of taking vitamin D to prevent cancer.
The panel is accepting public comment on its report until July 10.