Calcium and Vitamin D are essential nutrients known for their role in bone health. However, a lot of vitamin companies have been touting these two substances for all kinds of health benefits beyond the skeletal system. This has created some confusion about nutritional messaging.
To help clarify this issue, the US and Canadian governments requested the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to assess the current data and outcomes related to these two nutrients. Their findings were released in a brief on November 2010 and are they are summarized below.
The overall conclusion was that most Americans and Canadians are receiving adequate amount of calcium and vitamin D. However, there is some emerging evidence that too much of either substance can be harmful. The committee looked at a full range of health outcomes ranging from a variety of health conditions including cancer, pregnancy, hypertension and bone health. What they found is that a strong body of scientific evidence substantiates the importance of these two substances in bone health. However, their review in areas outside of bone health, found that those studies often produced mixed or inconclusive results. Higher levels of these products above the normal recommended amounts (there is a chart with recommendations by age group in the brief) have been linked to other health problems, challenging the concept “more is better”.