North Americans get enough calcium, vitamin D

Tue Nov 30, 2010 1:09pm EST
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Most people in the United States and Canada get plenty of vitamin D and calcium, and may damage their health by taking too many supplements, experts advised on Tuesday.

Contrary to popular wisdom, many Americans and Canadians get plenty of calcium and vitamin D and most do not need extra supplements to keep their bones strong, the Institute of Medicine committee said.

"National surveys in both the United States and Canada indicate that most people receive enough calcium, with the exception of girls ages 9-18, who often do not take in enough calcium," the report reads.

"In contrast, post-menopausal women taking supplements may be getting too much calcium, thereby increasing their risk for kidney stones."

Many foods in North America are fortified with vitamin D and calcium, from milk to breakfast cereal and orange juice.

The Nutrition Business Journal estimates that sales of calcium supplements rose 5 percent from 2008 to 2009, with sales of $1.2 billion, while the vitamin D supplement market grew by 82 percent in a year, to $430 million.

The committee, led by nutritionist Catharine Ross of Pennsylvania State University, spent years examining medical evidence.

Even assuming that people were getting little or no vitamin D from the sun, they found most North Americans got enough.   Continued...