Just a decade ago, doctors were advising everyone, especially postmenopausal women, to bone up on calcium and vitamin D supplements as a way to ward off bone thinning and risk of fractures. But as research hasn’t borne out these benefits, the thinking has changed.

Adults over the age of 50 who take these supplements are no less likely to have a fracture than those who don’t, according to a review of more than 50,000 people published last December in the Journal of the American Medical Association. “This paper just reaffirmed what we already suspected, that supplements alone doesn’t really decrease the risk of fracture,” says Marvin M. Lipman, M.D., Consumer Reports chief medical advisor.

Our experts still recommend getting adequate calcium. But the right way is through your diet (not supplements) so that your body can better absorb it, Lipman says.

Vitamin D is trickier, as most of us don’t get enough from either food or sunlight, the two main sources. So it’s reasonable, says Lipman, to take a daily supplement of 400 to 800 IU Vitamin D for people under age 50, and 800 to 1,000 IU for people 50 and older.

Source: Consumer Reports on Health April 2018

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