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Ditch the Extra Calcium, Vitamin D

Supplement sales have grown, but experts say they're not necessary
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 30, 2010 9:05 AM CST

(Newser) – Doctors have been recommending vitamin D and calcium supplements for years. But it turns out, for most people, neither supplement is needed—and too much vitamin D could actually be harmful. A committee of experts determined that most people have enough vitamin D from their diets, sunshine, and other natural sources. Says one member and bone metabolism doctor, “The onus is on the people who propose extra calcium and vitamin D to show it is safe before they push it on people.”

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Excess calcium can increase the risk of heart disease and cause kidney stones, and adolescent girls are likely the only group that actually needs more calcium—most others get enough from their diets. The committee examined all the available data from nearly 1,000 publications. They determined that there is not enough evidence to support all the health benefits doctors have been attributing to vitamin D, and having too much can increase the overall death rate as well as the risk of fractures and other ailments, the New York Times reports.
(Read more vitamin D stories.)

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