Consumers take them to strengthen bones and prevent fractures. Do they work?
By Lauren Cooper. July 27, 2016
Americans spent more than $1 billion on calcium supplements and $831 million on vitamin D supplements in 2015, according to data from the Nutrition Business Journal.
“Many consumers, especially older people who are concerned about bone loss, buy and take calcium and vitamin D pills expecting them to strengthen their bones and prevent fractures,” says Consumer Reports' chief medical adviser, Marvin M. Lipman, M.D.
Are they getting their money's worth? We looked at the research to find out if you need the supplements, or are better off getting those nutrients from a healthy diet.
Taking daily calcium pills can increase bone density in people over 50 years old by Only 1 to 2 percent—not enough to prevent fractures. That’s according to a review of 59 randomized controlled trials, published last year in the British Medical Journal. “That small gain is not worth the risks, including an increased likelihood of heart disease, kidney stones, and gastrointestinal problems,” Lipman says.
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