In response to a draft report by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force on vitamin D and calcium:
Statement by Taylor C. Wallace, Ph.D., senior director, scientific and regulatory affairs, CRN:
“The draft report issued today by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) on vitamin D and calcium does not change expert recommendations for the benefits of calcium. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) supports a Recommended Dietary Allowance of 600 to 800 IU vitamin D and 1,000 to 1,300 mg calcium daily for adults. There are long-term Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs), systematic reviews and meta-analyses that support that supplementation with calcium and vitamin D is beneficial for bone health, particularly in post-menopausal women and the elderly, when the diet is not sufficient.
For those individuals who are not getting recommended amounts from diet alone, supplementation may be necessary to help prevent falls and fractures. Even though the USPSTF’s recommendations are based on a large body of evidence, the draft report recognized that in the largest RCT, the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) study, the vitamin D dose used ‘may have been too low to cause an effect.’ There are additional issues in the WHI study: of particular concern is the fact that the control group was actually somewhat sufficient in calcium, thereby making it more difficult for the calcium test group to show benefit in comparison.
Previously, the USPSTF found that supplementation with vitamin D was beneficial in preventing incidences of falls among adults ages 65 and older. Since falls commonly result in fractures, it’s common sense for the elderly to consider supplementing with vitamin D and calcium.”