FDA Recognizes Benefits of Calcium and Vitamin D to Reduce Risks of Osteoporosis

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a proposal to officially allow food and supplement manufacturers to tout the benefits of calcium and vitamin D in preventing osteoporosis. The new rule would allow the manufacturers to make the health claim on its product labeling.

“This is important information for all citizens,” said Dr. Robert E. Brackett, director of FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Nutrition. “All persons lose bone with age, and the loss can influence an individual’s risk of developing osteoporosis. Maintenance of an adequate intake of calcium and vitamin D in all stages of life can help lower one’s risk.”

The proposal seeks to amend one of the first health claims authorized under the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990, which highlighted the association between calcium intake and a reduced risk of osteoporosis. The new rule would allow claims of a reduced risk of osteoporosis with the consumption of both calcium and vitamin D.

“Osteoporosis is a significant public health problem, especially for women,” said Dr. Kathleen Uhl, assistant commissioner of FDA’s Office of Women’s Health. “This new labeling should assist consumers to select foods–and women especially since women do the majority of food shopping in the U.S.–that provide adequate calcium and vitamin D intake and hopefully prevent the occurrence of osteoporosis in themselves and their family members.”

In addition to adding the claim about the combination of calcium and vitamin D, the new labeling measure would also remove references to sex, race, and age (since the benefits apply to both sexes at all ages and race categories). The new labels would also drop its explanation about how calcium works to fight the disease and would drop the claim about limits to the benefit of calcium intake above 200 percent of the Daily Value.

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