For now, national standards advise the average adult to get about 1,000 mg of calcium, 1,300 for postmenopausal women, every day. For vitamin D, the goal is 600 IUs of vitamin D every day, moving to 800 after age 70, according to the Institute of Medicine, which set those levels in 2010. The nutrients can come from various foods, including orange juice fortified with calcium and D; dairy foods such as milk, yogurt and cheese; certain fish including salmon; and fortified breakfast cereals. Harder to measure is how much vitamin D the body also produces from sunshine.
Most people should get enough calcium from food, said Mayo's Khosla. But while he cautions against too high doses, he frequently tells his patients to take a multivitamin because it's harder to get vitamin D from food and during the winter.
While supplement science gets sorted out, the task force's Moyer advises healthy seniors to exercise — proven to shore up bones and good for the rest of the body, too.