Click a letter to see a list of conditions beginning with that letter.
Click 'Topic Index' to return to the index for the current topic.
Click 'Library Index' to return to the listing of all topics.
Do Older Adults Need Calcium and Vitamin D Supplements?
The older you get, the more likely you are to develop osteoporosis—a condition in which your bones become weak and easier to break. Calcium and vitamin D play key roles in helping keep your bones strong.
So, does that mean you or someone you love should be taking calcium and vitamin D supplements?
Research says …
Maybe not, according to a recent study in JAMA. The authors analyzed the results from 33 clinical trials. They found that taking calcium and vitamin D supplements did not lower the risk of breaking a bone for older adults living independently. This suggests that the supplements may be a waste of money for many older adults.
Still, everyone is different. Some people at high risk for osteoporosis may benefit from taking calcium and vitamin D supplements. Talk with your doctor about what’s right for you or your loved one.
Ask your doctor whether you or your loved one should get a bone density test. This test looks for a high loss of bone tissue, which increases the risk for painful and disabling broken bones.
When needed, a doctor can prescribe medicine to prevent more bone loss or build new bone.
Here are other ways to protect bone health:
Eat a balanced diet rich in calcium. Good sources include low-fat milk and dairy products, dark green leafy vegetables, sardines, and calcium-fortified drinks and cereals.
Include foods containing vitamin D. This vitamin is found in egg yolks, saltwater fish, liver, and D-fortified milk and cereals.
Don’t smoke or drink heavily. Both are bad for bones, and heavy drinking increases the risk for a bone-breaking fall.
Get weight-bearing physical activity. Examples include walking, jogging, climbing stairs, dancing, tennis, and weight training.
Print out a list of questions about bone health to take to a doctor appointment. Get the checklist here.
© 2000-2018 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.