In this Evolve Medical Clinics primary care update, we discuss the 2 new studies published this week which say taking calcium to prevent osteoporosis and bone fractures is not helpful–and may even be harmful. As a result, recommendations should be changing soon.
For many years, older adults, have been told to take 1,000 to 1,200 mg of calcium. But the two papers, by the same team of New Zealand researchers, suggest we should stop our calcium. In fact, women who take over 1,400mg of calcium per day are at an increased risk of death (from all causes),
heart attack and cardiovascular disease (see this summary of the trials) or this study published in Heart in 2012. Other less worrisome but certainly bothersome side effects often include constipation.
The Bottom Line
“Collectively these results suggest…(we) should not recommend increasing calcium intake for fracture prevention either with calcium supplements or through dietary sources,” the authors of the study write.
One study reviewed 59 different previous studies with a total 13,790 men and women over 50. They found that taking supplements or increasing dietary calcium only increased bone density 1-2%, which is not enough to change bone fracture risk.
The other study reviewed 55 different studies. Of the 4 best studies, which all together totaled over 45,000 participants. Taken together, it showed no benefit of calcium supplements toward lowering the risk of fracture at any site.
At Evolve Medical Clinics, we are recommending that our patients stop calcium supplementation. We recommend each individual discuss this recent data with their own doctors. If you do not have a primary and would like to discuss with one of our providers, feel free to schedule on-line at this link.