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Osteoporosis Health Center

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Vitamin D, Calcium for Fracture Risk Questioned

Panel: Low-dose Vitamin D, Calcium Pills May Not Prevent Fractures in Older Women

Vitamin D and Fractures: Is There a Link?

Ethel S. Siris, MD, has mixed feelings about the new recommendations. She is the Madeline C. Stabile Professor of Clinical Medicine and the director of the Toni Stabile Osteoporosis Center at Columbia University Medical Center in New York. "It is good that they are holding back on cancer, but on the bone side, calcium or vitamin D deficiency is not good," she says.

No one is saying that calcium and vitamin D are not enough to prevent fractures. "You need real medicine, but part of the package is to avoid calcium and vitamin D deficiency," she says. "All of the drugs we use require patients to be replete in calcium and vitamin D."

Her advice: Consult your health care provider about what is best for you.

"People who have a real risk for fracture have to go beyond calcium and vitamin D and to medicine, but this doesn't mean they should ignore vitamin D and calcium," she says. "We are not looking for extra; we are looking for enough."

Can Vitamin D Prevent Cancer?

The jury is still out on whether vitamin D can prevent cancer, says Len Lichtenfeld, MD, the American Cancer Society's deputy chief medical officer.

"The studies have been negative, inconclusive, or not well designed to answer the question from a scientific standpoint," he says. "We are left without good medicine to guide people as to whether vitamin D prevents cancer."

"Vitamin D may reduce the incidence of cancer, but the evidence is not sufficient to draw that conclusion," he says. "Many experts do believe that we are relatively deficient in vitamin D as a nation, and people who wish to take supplements should talk to their doctor."

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