Calcium & Vitamin D supplements deemed ineffective

Some of the authorities are finally getting it right…

…at least when it comes to supplements. They still haven’t gotten it right about dairy, but this is a pretty good start. This story has been all over the news for the past week: Boston Globe, Fox, NBC Evening News and the New York Times.

Just say NO to calcium pills and ALL dairy as your source of calcium.

A few days ago I blogged on some of the dangers of trying to get our essential nutrients from pills instead of from whole plants as nature intended. That article featured scientific studies questioning the use of folate, vitamin C and omega-3 supplements, to name a few. Now, our own government is telling us a similar story about calcium and vitamin D. From the New York Times: (See link to article below)

The United States Preventive Services Task Force, an influential group that recently recommended against routine P.S.A. tests to detect prostate cancer, issued a draft statement on Tuesday recommending that healthy postmenopausal women should not take low doses of calcium or vitamin D supplements to prevent fractures.

Later in the article they added that there was no evidence that they worked for healthy men or women of any age, adding:

“When you take a vitamin supplement or any therapy for an extended period of time, you have to ask, ‘What is the evidence that it works and what is the evidence of harms?’ ” Dr. Bibbins-Domingo said.

“It is clear that lower doses of calcium and vitamin D do not prevent fractures, and there is a small but measurable risk of kidney stones,” she said. So with no evidence of benefit, there is no reason to risk harm.

This should be your preferred source of all essential nutrients—the fresh produce section at your grocery or farmers market.

What about diet? It was only mentioned in the last paragraph of the article and they failed to explain exactly what constituted a healthy diet. “For most people, she said, there is no need for these supplements and good reason for many not to take them. “Vitamin D and calcium are part of a healthy diet,” Dr. Bibbins-Domingo said. “Most people can achieve sufficient doses with a healthy diet.”

The “healthy diet” needed is one that features mostly whole plants. And even though they mentioned the need for a healthy diet in the article, I would bet you $100 that if you asked what that meant, those “experts” would give you the old USDA party line: “a balanced diet with lean cuts of meat, poultry, fish and low-fat dairy along with grains, fruits and vegetables.”

See Nigel’s article on dairy. Shown here with his lovely granddaughter.

The Bottom Line. Forget virtually all supplements except for B12. You’ll get all the calcium you need from a whole foods, plant-based diet and you can get your Vitamin D from the sun. You should not consider dairy of any kind–at any age–for the best source of any nutrients.

Still confused? Study the following with your family for a few weeks; then get back to me with any questions that you might have. It’s really not that complicated; after all, it all boils down to two words: Whole Plants.

Handy 4-piece take-charge-of-your-health kit—from

Want to find out how healthy your family is eating? Take our free 4Leaf Diagnostic Survey. It takes less than five minutes and you can score it yourself. After taking the survey, please give me your feedback as it will be helpful in the development of our future 4Leaf app for smartphones. Send feedback to

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J. Morris Hicks, working daily to promote health, hope and harmony on planet Earth.

For help in your own quest to take charge of your health, you might find some useful information at our 4Leaf page or some great recipes at Lisa’s 4Leaf Kitchen.

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Blogging daily at…from the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.

—J. Morris Hicks, board member, T. Colin Campbell Foundation

About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, where he has also been a member of the board of directors since 2012. Having concluded that our food choices hold the key to the sustainability of our civilization, he has made this his #1 priority---exploring all avenues for influencing humans everywhere to move back to the natural plant-based diet for our species.
This entry was posted in Dairy, cow's milk, Vitamins & Supplements. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Calcium & Vitamin D supplements deemed ineffective

  1. Lisa says:

    I saw this article also. Unfortunately 2 days later MSNBC reported with a headline “Can taking vitamin D and calcium help you live longer” and the opening paragragh read “Older people who take vitamin D supplements along with calcium may live longer than others, according to a new review of previous studies.” More confusion to any clarity that may have set in on the dangers of taking supplements.

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