Harvard Women's Health Watch

Vitamin D and calcium supplements: Take them or leave them?

How to follow the changing recommendations without making yourself dizzy.

First we were advised to take calcium and vitamin D supplements to strengthen our bones and protect against fractures. Then in June, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended against low-dose calcium and vitamin D supplements, citing little evidence that they actually prevent fractures and noting that they can increase the risk of kidney stones.

A European study added another dose of bad news, linking calcium supplements with a greater risk for heart attacks. Then the tides shifted again, when another analysis suggested calcium and vitamin D supplements might help older adults live longer.

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