PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Should women take vitamin D and calcium?

A government panel that makes recommendations about best prevention practices has examined 137 studies, including some designed to establish cause and effect.

The review shows in healthy, post-menopausal women, the supplements may do more harm than good.

So why do people take them in the first place?

“Vitamin D is critical to getting calcium into our bones,” Dr. Eugene Scioscia, an OBGYN at Allegheny General Hospital, said.

But according to the broad analysis, as preventers of bone-thinning osteoporosis and fractures, calcium and vitamin D don’t have much benefit. There’s also an increased risk of kidney stones.

“They just looked at one dose which is the recommendation of 400 units per day,” Dr. Scioscia said.

It could be the dose to make a safe difference isn’t known yet.

Because the panel has only issued this advice in a draft document, Dr. Scioscia is not inclined to have his patients make any changes just yet.

“Pay attention, listen to your physicians, watch for reports and further information regarding this at this juncture,” he said.

These recommendations are about taking vitamin D and calcium for prevention in otherwise healthy people.

If you have osteoporosis, or if you’ve had a blood test to show your vitamin D level is low — which is a common condition in Pittsburgh — you need to stay on your supplements.

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