Osteoporosis poses a significant public health issue, causing significant morbidity and mortality. Calcium and vitamin D utilization in the optimization of bone health is often overlooked by patients and health care providers. In addition, the optimal standard of care for osteoporosis should encompass adequate calcium and vitamin D intake. Dietary intake or supplementation with calcium and vitamin D will be reviewed, including recent recommendations for increased vitamin D intake. Compliance to calcium and vitamin D therapy is paramount for effective prevention of osteoporotic fractures. A recently released algorithm (FRAX) estimating absolute fracture risk allows the health care provider to decide when pharmacologic therapy is warranted in addition to calcium and vitamin D. When pharmacologic therapy is advised, continued use of calcium and vitamin D is recommended for optimal fracture risk reduction. A 'bricks and mortar' analogy is often helpful when counseling patients and this analogy will be explained. This manuscript reviews relevant data related to calcium and vitamin D use for patients at risk for fracture due to bone loss.
Keywords: bone; calcium; hip fracture; osteopenia; osteoporosis; vitamin D.