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Vitamin D Alone Doesn't Boost Bone Health

vitamin D supplement capsulesJust taking vitamin D alone is not helpful for osteoporosis, according to a recent scientific study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism and summarized online at WebMD and other sites.

This is not surprising news - the National Osteoporosis Foundation and Institute for Better Bone Health agree that Vitamin D is not enough for optimum bone health.

The study assigned women to one of four focus groups:

1.    No supplement
2.    4000 IU vitamin D only
3.    1,200 mg of calcium only
4.    Calcium plus vitamin D

The authors found that calcium alone OR calcium plus vitamin D improved bone health, but vitamin D supplements alone showed no extra benefit to women who were getting enough vitamin D from diet.   But don’t throw away the vitamin D just yet!  More than half of American women are deficient in vitamin D, so most women do need to take vitamin D supplements. Also, previous studies have shown that vitamin D supplements improve balance and decrease the risk of fracture - whether bone density improves or not.

What this study does show, however, is that taking large amounts of a single nutrient is not the best choice for improved health, and mega-doses of calcium are not a good idea either. The total calcium requirement from food and supplements is 1,200 mg per day. Studies show  more than 500 mg of supplemental calcium increases the risk of heart attacks, and the risk is greater when calcium is taken alone (without vitamin D or other vitamins).  Naturally, there’s plenty of research showing that calcium is important for bones, and a 500 mg supplement combined with a typical diet is enough calcium for most women. This is one of several reasons why Silical® System* provides 500 mg of calcium and 1,000 IU of vitamin D.

Another short-coming of this recent report is that it only focuses on calcium and vitamin D while the U.S. Surgeon General’s Report identified 20 dietary factors that influence bone health.  Researchers at the Institute for Better Bone Health considered all of the nutrients that have a positive effect on bone health and then looked at common dietary insufficiencies that could benefit from supplementation. Silical System was developed to meet those needs with calcium and vitamin D plus important nutrients that have been shown to improve the effects of calcium and vitamin D.

*Adequate calcium and vitamin D, throughout life, as part of a well-balanced diet, may reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

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