Taking Calcium Doesn’t Decrease Risk Of Osteoporosis
If you’re taking calcium to decrease the risk of osteoporosis, there’s some bad news for you. The results come from not one, but two new studies that basically looked at all the evidence out there. According to WebMd:
New Zealand researchers who analyzed more than 100 previous investigations say guidelines advising seniors to consume at least 1,000 to 1,200 milligrams of calcium a day are misplaced.
No proof was found that boosting calcium intake beyond normal dietary levels strengthens older bones or prevents fractures, said researcher Dr. Mark Bolland.
“We’ve gathered all the clinical studies of calcium supplements and dietary calcium intake for both bone density and fractures,” said Bolland, an associate professor in the department of medicine at the University of Auckland.
“Taken together, we think this is the strongest possible evidence that taking calcium supplements will not be beneficial unless there are clear medical reasons that a calcium supplement is needed,” he said.
Moreover, excess calcium supplementation can be harmful, he and other experts said.
This has significant impact on a large group of women. 30 to 50% of women over the age of 50 in the United States take calcium supplements of some kind, yet there have been repeated concerns about the safety. They’ve been known to double the risk of heart attacks. Dr. Karl Michaelsson, the author of an editorial accompanying the study, says that “Most will not benefit from increasing their intakes and will be exposed instead to a higher risk of adverse events such as constipation, cardiovascular events, kidney stones, or admission for acute gastrointestinal symptoms.’
Calcium is still important. It's the excess consumption of calcium that can be problematic
Does this mean you shouldn’t be taking calcium supplements? It has more to do with overconsumption of supplements with the hopes of getting stronger bones. According to Dr. Michaelsson, Move the focus from a general recommendation to increase intakes of calcium and vitamin D to very high levels. Instead, define a valid insufficiency level for calcium intake and to better determine low vitamin D status.”
Sources: Bolland M, Leung W, Tai V, Bastin S, Gamble G, Grey A, et al. Calcium intake And Risk Of Fracture: Systematic Review. The BMJ. 2015.
Michaelsson K, Wolk A, Langenskiold S, Basu S, Warensjo Lemming E, Melhus H, et al. Milk Intake And Risk Of mortality And Fractures In Women And Men: Cohort Studies. The BMJ.2015.