In a large, randomized, placebo-controlled calcium and vitamin D supplementation trial, researchers found that menopausal women who took the supplements had the same number of symptoms — including mood changes, night sweats, hot flashes and fatigue —as those who did not take supplements.
Erin S. LeBlanc, MD, MPH, of Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Oregon, and colleagues at other institutions analyzed data from 34,157 postmenopausal women aged 50 to 79 years (average baseline age, 63.7 years) participating in the Women’s Health Initiative.
Erin S. LeBlanc
Within the cohort, 17,101 participants were assigned 1,000 mg calcium carbonate plus 400 IU vitamin D daily, given as one tablet in two divided doses to be taken two times per day with meals, compared with 17,056 participants assigned an identical-looking placebo. Participants completed questionnaires at baseline and during follow-up regarding more than 20 menopause-related symptoms based on the Postmenopausal Estrogen/Progestin Interventions (PEPI) symptom tool, as well as a food frequency questionnaire, to determine dietary vitamin D and calcium intake. Researchers followed participants for an average of 5.7 years from the mid-1990s through 2005.