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Making good healthcare decisions is often difficult because the science behind them is often incomplete. What makes sense based on observing large groups of people does not always make sense when it is subject to the scrutiny of good science. Think of the way it makes sense to say the earth is flat until we take a more disciplined look at it.

This applies to many supplemental treatments people used to manage their health. The use of calcium and vitamin D supplements for prevention of fractures has long been perceived as safe and effective. However, the science behind those two supplements is very incomplete, and very shaky.

Two recent studies raise major questions as to whether you need calcium and vitamin D supplements, and also whether you don’t need them. If you don’t need them, they’re only a risk.

One study looked at the effect of supplements on colon cancer, and found a higher risk.

The second study, a meta analysis, found no benefit from them in reducing risk of fractures.

The science of vitamin D and calcium remains incomplete. Remember, when making the decision to take supplements, think of all the benefits, risks, alternatives and unknowns of the plan. You can talk to your doctor, or you can ask us to help you sort them out.