Calcium supplements unlikely to help bones
Lead scientist, Dr Mark Bolland from the University of Auckland, says the evidence is good cause for health professionals to stop recommending increasing calcium consumption.
“Collectively, these results suggest that Clinicians, advocacy organisations and health policymakers should not recommend increasing calcium intake for fracture prevention, either by use of calcium supplements or dietary sources,” said Dr Bolland. “For most patients who are concerned about their bone health, they do not need to worry about their calcium intake.”
Current guidelines suggest that older men and women to take at least 1000-1200 mg/day of calcium to improve bone density and prevent fractures.
The latest findings were discovered by scientists analysing evidence from randomised controlled trials and observational studies of extra dietary or supplemental calcium in women and men aged over 50.
“In the first study, we found that increasing calcium intake from dietary sources or by taking supplements produces small (one to two percent) increases in bone mineral density, which are unlikely to lead to a clinically meaningful reduction in risk of fracture”, said Dr Bolland.
“The second study found that 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,” he stated
Dr Boyd said that most of the elderly increasing calcium or vitamin D intake will not see a benefit but put themselves at higher risk of adverse event [gastrointestinal side effects for example].
The research was published in the latest British Medical Journal.