February 25/Washington/Press Release -- The Natural Products Association (NPA) represents the dietary supplement industry, and Dr. Cara Welch, its senior vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs, comments on vitamin D and calcium supplementation for postmenopausal women:

“The Natural Products Association believes that dietary supplementation is both safe and effective for anyone who isn’t getting enough calcium and vitamin D from their diet. These nutrients have been shown to support bone health and it’s important that consumers get the recommended levels of both. If diet alone isn’t enough, then dietary supplements can help with getting these vital nutrients.

"The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has issued a final recommendation against doses of vitamin D and calcium to prevent fractures in postmenopausal women. They stated that supplementation has not been proven beneficial and carries a small risk. This conflicts with the recommendation of the Institute of Medicine, which took into account nearly 1,000 published studies that confirm the role of calcium and vitamin D supplements in promoting bone health.

"The statement by the task force is contradicted by current research and may prove harmful to women at risk of fractures. Studies continue to show the beneficial effects of calcium and vitamin D supplements. As always, NPA recommends that consumers discuss their nutritional needs with their health care professional.”