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Supplements not recommended for cancer, fractures

Tuesday June 12, 2012
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Citing a lack of strong evidence, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force said it cannot recommend vitamin D and calcium supplementation to prevent cancer and osteoporotic fractures.

The USPSTF issued a draft recommendation statement June 12. It will be open for comment until July 10, after which the agency will issue a final recommendation.

In a review of recent studies on the use of vitamin D and calcium supplements to prevent cancer and osteoporotic fractures, the USPSTF found:

• There is not enough evidence to determine whether vitamin D supplements, with or without calcium, can prevent cancer in adults.

• There is not enough evidence to determine whether vitamin D and calcium supplements can prevent fractures in men and in women who have not yet gone through menopause.

• There is not enough evidence to determine whether vitamin D and calcium supplements at larger doses can prevent fractures in older women.

• Lower doses of vitamin D and calcium supplements do not prevent fractures in older women and may lead to kidney stones in a small number of women.

Thus the Task Force recommends against daily supplementation with 400 IU or less of vitamin D and 1,000 milligrams or less of calcium carbonate for the primary prevention of fractures in noninstitutionalized, postmenopausal women. With regard to the other findings, the Task Force found insufficient evidence and thus cannot make a recommendation for or against use.

The draft recommendations apply to adults who live at home rather than in assisted living or in nursing homes, and do not apply to those who already have had cancer or suffered an osteoporotic fracture.

To read the draft recommendation and comment, visit http://bit.ly/q0Lkyv.


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