“USPSTF’s recommendations can help to inform healthcare practitioners in their decision-making, but clinicians should also consider factors such as their patient’s diet, their nutrient status, their lifestyle habits, and also the likelihood that they will comply with a given recommendation,” Andrea Wong, Ph.D., vice president, scientific & regulatory affairs, CRN, told NutraIngredients-USA.
“Community-dwelling adults” are defined as not living in a nursing home or other institutional care setting.
In its recommendation on “Interventions to Prevent Falls in Community-Dwelling Older Adults”, USPSTF found that exercise interventions can help prevent falls and that customized risk assessments and tailored interventions would be beneficial to some adults.
“CRN appreciates the Task Force’s upfront acknowledgment that clinical decisions are not one-size-fits-all, and therefore, clinicians should tailor preventive care to each individual’s needs,” Wong added.
Hazy vitamin D and calcium recommendation
However in its “Vitamin D, Calcium, or Combined Supplementation for the Primary Prevention of Fractures in Community-Dwelling Adults” recommendation, a personalized nutrition approach was less clear.
USPSTF stated that it recommended against daily supplementation any amount less than 400 IU of vitamin D and 1000 mg of calcium for the primary prevention of fractures in community-dwelling, postmenopausal women, but did not specify a patient-specific approach for other individuals.
“Although not all osteoporotic fractures may be directly attributable to deficiencies in vitamin D or calcium, these nutrients are important modifiable factors associated with optimal bone health,” USTPF added in their statement.
In addition, USPSTF’s conclusions were based on research that excluded vitamin D deficient subjects and the recommendation did not apply to individuals with a history of osteoporotic fractures, increased risk for falls, or a diagnosis of osteoporosis or vitamin D deficiency, Wong pointed out.
“We’re not getting the full picture of the science,” she said. “The recommendations are very limited in their scope. What’s important is to not to apply these recommendations to the broader population.”
CRN stressed that vitamin D and calcium should be part of any healthy diet, and that is important to consult with a health professional to determine the specific supplementation amount.
“CRN reminds consumers that no one is exempt from the need to obtain adequate amounts of vitamin D and calcium. Both nutrients are critical to overall health, especially bone health, and most people do not get enough of either,” Wong said.
In fact, vitamin D and calcium were identified as nutrients of “public health concern” in the 2015 Dietary Guidelines.
“Regardless of whether they are designated as nutrients of public health concern by the government, it’s really important to make sure that we consumer adequate amounts of all nutrients for our overall health.”
CRN believes that USPSTF and other similar health organizations should continue to play a role in sharing a patient-specific approach to nutrient supplementation.
“I think it needs to be reiterated in a number of different places and then also to anyone that is educating healthcare practitioners to make sure that they understand that yes, these are recommendations, but it’s just one piece of the puzzle in determining what’s appropriate for your particular patient,” Wong added.