The Natural Products Association (NPA) is the leading representative of the dietary supplement industry with more than 1,900 members, including suppliers and retailers of vitamins and other dietary supplements. Dr. Cara Welch, vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs, discusses recent claims about calcium and vitamin D supplements, and highlights their value in maintaining overall health:
“It’s important that consumers get the recommended levels of both calcium and vitamin D to support their health. If an individual is not getting enough calcium and vitamin D from their diet, then dietary supplements can help them get these vital nutrients.
“Last week, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force issued a draft recommendation against doses of vitamin D and calcium to prevent fractures in postmenopausal women. They stated that supplementation at such levels, 400 international units of vitamin D, provides no benefit and carries a small risk. However, the Institute of Medicine has recommended that people should actually get 600-800 international units of vitamin D and 700 to 1,300 milligrams of calcium per day, depending on age. Their recommendations took into account nearly 1,000 published studies, confirming the role of calcium and vitamin D in promoting bone health.
“The statement by the task force is out of step with current research. Studies continue to show the beneficial effects of calcium and vitamin D. In fact, a study this week in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology found that older people taking vitamin D and calcium supplements tended to live longer than the rest of their peers.
“It’s also important to note that the federal government has approved health claims associating vitamin D and calcium intake with a reduced risk of osteoporosis. As always, NPA recommends that you discuss your nutritional needs with your health care professional.”