Calcium Supplements, are They Needed?

Recent research is questioning the results of calcium supplement recommendations.

Calcium Supplement tablets

Calcium Supplement tablets

Ever since osteoporosis was discovered, the logic of extra calcium supplementation has been a part of the conversation. This is because bone holds and manages 99% of the body’s calcium stores, and also uses calcium for its structural integrity. Naturally the logic was, if the is a lack of calcium being stored by the body (in bone), then we should increase the amount of calcium in the body. Now researchers have been discovering that this is not the case. Currently, physicians, the media, and the multiple government health agencies tell women and men with fracture history, or other risk factors for osteoporosis to take 1,000 mg (or more) of calcium daily. Many calcium supplements have been produced to meet this need. Recently the Osteoporosis Institute did an article on chocolate tablets with calcium added. CALCIUM CHOCOLATE 

Calcium is the only mineral that the body regulates automatically. Meaning, when calcium levels drop, the body compensates by increasing the rate of calcium absorption and the deterioration of older bone (osteoclastic activity). Because the body naturally regulates the levels of calcium, taking calcium supplements may not help increase bone density at all.

A recent study of 36,282 women between the ages 50 and 79 showed not only poor bone density changes with calcium supplements and vitamin D supplementation, but had other significant health benefits. The 36,282 women were divided in to test, and placebo groups. The test group was given 1,000 milligrams of calcium with 400 IU of vitamin D a day. After 7 years fracture risk was not statistically different from the placebo group, however risk of breast cancer dropped significantly. This means that the historic reasons for prescribing both calcium supplements and vitamin D for bone health is no longer relevant as calcium is self regulatory. Women however, should consider this protocol for breast cancer avoidance, especially those at high risk of breast cancer. Men should not necessarily follow this protocol, as high levels of dietary calcium intake are linked with prostate cancer.

The body regulates its own calcium, so give your body a reason to keep more of it in your bones. Countless studies have shown that there are two ways to slow bone mass loss, and potentially gain in bone mass density:

1. Limiting Lifestyle Risk Factors

2. Applying Force to Bone

Here is a link to a treatment option Infographic by the Osteoporosis Institute.

 

 

 

Reference:

Bolland, M. Grey, A. Gamble, G. and Reid, I. (2011). Calcium and vitamin D supplements and health outcomes: a reanalysis of the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) limited-access data set1,2,3,4. American Journal of clinical Nutrition.

 

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