Bone Health: Should Older Women Take Vitamin D?
Every woman is at a high risk of developing bone related ailments due to the dipping level of estrogen in her ovaries which occurs with age. The level of estrogen usually drops once the woman reaches her menopause period. And because of this reason, a woman is at a higher risk of developing bone problems like osteoporosis. To prevent bone related ailments like osteoporosis its best to increase the intake of vitamin D and calcium on a daily basis; but how effective is this plan?
According to a U.S. Government Backed Panel - "Older women shouldn't take vitamin D and calcium supplements to prevent bones related ailments as there's not enough evidence to say whether it would help anyone."
There was a serious debate conducted over the benefits of vitamin D and calcium by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. The debate was over the issue of how these two essential nutrients help in strengthening bones and how they prevent bone breakage.
According to Dr. Jessica Herzstein, "Calcium and vitamin D are important in general health and bone health. For this recommendation, we review data on whether supplements of vitamin D and calcium can prevent fractures in addition to dietary intake."
Half of the population all around the globe suffers from breaks due to brittle bone every year, and the case is very high among women over 50 years due to bone weakening disease like osteoporosis.
The panel noticed that there were no major benefits among people who took sufficient amount of calcium and vitamin D, but some there were some risk for post-menopausal women who took low dosage of vitamin D and calcium.
Specifically, taking low-dose supplements didn't change the older women's risk for broken bones, but was tied to a small increase in the risk of kidney stones.
Besides, they also found that there is not enough evidence to suggest higher doses of the vitamins would be effective or safer in older women, or that taking any dose of the supplements would help men or younger women. These recommendations are not for those people who are already undergoing some treatment for any bone-related ailments.
Instead, of blindly following any supplements, women older than 65 years old and younger women who have a higher risk of broken bones should be screened for the bone-weakening disease, osteoporosis.
*Image courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images