From the: HOUSTON CHRONICLE of 6-1-99

Hormones? side effects can be cut

Study: Vitamin D, calcium are helpful PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Women can use lower doses of the replacement hormones taken to prevent postmenopausal bone loss and achieve the same benefits with reduced side effects, at least if they take calcium and vitamin D along with the hormones.

With a lower dosage, side effects such as weight gain, breast tender-ness, spotting discomfort and mood changes are slight to begin- with and disappear within six months, according to the study funded by the National Institutes of Health and in today’s Annals of Medicine.

Those findings could allow many more women to benefit from the ability of hormones to prevent the low bone mass, or osteoporosis, that leaves millions of elderly women at risk of fractures, chronic pain and. stooped posture.

Because of the side effects, only about 20 percent of the women, who could benefit currently take advantage of hormone replacement said, the study’s authors from the Osteoporosis Research Center at Creighton University School of Medicine in Omaha, Neb.

The lower hormone dose also may reduce the risk of breast cancer associated with estrogen-containing supplements, though the study did not examine that risk, said one of the investigators, Dr. Robert P. Heaney.

The study involved 128 women older than 65 with low bone mass. They received either a placebo or 0.3 milligrams of CCEE (continuous conjugated equine estrogen) and 2.5 milligrams of progesterone daily for 3% years.

The women, who also received calcium and vitamin D supplements, showed a 3.5 percent to 5.2 percent increase in spinal bone density as well as increases in body and forearm bone density, the researchers said.

“We have belatedly come to realize that most women in that age group are deficient in calcium and vitamin D,” he said. “We actually got a higher response with this low dose with calcium and vitamin D supplements.

If bone cells are to grow, they need raw materials, he said.

than with the 0.625 milligram dosage; without the supplements.”

If bone cells are to grow, they need materials, he said.