Calcium may not always the answer when it comes to bone health 29



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As we get older, many of us take calcium in the belief that it helps our bones. In fact, the very word “calcium” has become synonymous with bone health. However, new research shows boosting our diets with extra calcium it may not be quite the cure-all we have been led to believe.

Two studies published in The British Medical Journal have called into question whether increasing calcium intake can help improve bone health or prevent fractures as we age. The researchers actually went so far as to say it was “unlikely to”.

SCIMEX reports the team of researchers was led by a Dr Bolland, who said the results suggest that clinicians, advocacy organisations and health policymakers should not recommend increasing calcium intake for fracture prevention, either by use of calcium supplement or dietary sources.

“For most patients who are concerned about their bone health, they do not need to worry about their calcium intake,” Dr Bolland said.

The studies’ findings contradict guidelines advising older men and women to take at least 1000-1200 mg/day of calcium to improve bone density and prevent fractures.

The first study found that increasing calcium intake from dietary sources or by taking supplements produces small (one to two percent) increases in bone mineral density, which were unlikely to lead to a clinically meaningful reduction in risk of fracture.

The second found dietary calcium intake is not associated with risk of fracture, and there is no clinical trial evidence that increasing calcium intake from dietary sources prevents fractures.

A Swedish professor said the study showed  it was time to revisit recommendations to increase calcium intake beyond a normal balanced diet.

Professor Karl Michaëlsson from Uppsala University in Sweden said it appeared most people would not benefit from increasing their intakes but would  be exposed instead to a higher risk of adverse events such as gastrointestinal side-effects.

“The weight of evidence against such mass medication of older people is now compelling, and it is surely time to reconsider these controversial recommendations,” he says.

Older Australians taking calcium are advised to see their doctor or dietician before making any drastic changes to their diets.


If extra calcium doesn’t help your bone health, are there any other supplements or foods you take or eat regularly that you think do boost your bone or general health?


Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. I don’t believe in supplements at all & reckon some good old-fashioned weight bearing exercise (walking) is the way to go.

    1 REPLY
    • I agree about the exercise. It is extremely important. However I will still take my calcium supplements. If it is not doing me much good it is not also hurting me. My last lot of tests showed my calcium levels were good.

  2. I believe good long walking also bring water bottle drink and Plain biscuits if thirsty or lollies and bring shoulder bag if you need put in just relax for half day

  3. This article differs to what I heard. Sure they said supplements are a waste of time, but milk is not a supplement. It is part of a normal healthy diet, along with other dairy products. Me thinks those wascally”dairy knockers” may be behind this article? Exercise, vitamin d (from the sun) and a healthy balanced diet works for me.

  4. Main risk factor for osteoporosis is genetic, all the milk in the world isn’t going to help that!

  5. Of course it isn’t. ..what about but D and magnesium and other trace elements. If D deficient then calcium can’t work any way

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