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28 February 2013

Most People Can Skip Calcium Supplements, Prevention Panel Says

Women have been told for years that if they don't take calcium supplements religiously, they're putting themselves at risk of crippling hip fractures in old age. Now the word from a major government panel: Why bother? There's no evidence that taking calcium supplements reduces the risk of fractures for most people, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force said. The recommendations were published online Monday by the Annals of Internal Medicine. That applies to postmenopausal women, the target audience for calcium supplements. "We're not saying don't use it," says Linda Baumann, a member of the task force and a professor emerita of nursing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. "But think about it, because we're not sure it has the benefit you think it has." The task force said that taking up to 1,000 milligrams a day of calcium supplements and up to 400 international units of vitamin D daily did nothing to prevent fractures in healthy people, while slightly increasing the risk of kidney stones.