A new study found that calcium supplements may not strengthen the bones in the elderly.
Researchers from New Zealand analyzed 100 prior studies that advised their participants to consume at least 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day and found no proof that the extra calcium would improve in any way the stenght of the bones. All participants were over 50.
Mark Bolland, said that by gathering a large number of previous studies on calcium supplements they had a bigger chance at proving cause-and-effect calcium is healthy for the bones. The associate proffesor of medicine from the University of Auckland, noted that he and his colleagues found that calcium supplements are not beneficial just to anyone.
Bolland adds that unless calcium supplements are needed for clear medical reasons then they are pretty much obsolete. In addition, an excess of calcium supplements could be harmful for some people, according to other researchers involved in the study.
The results may come as a surprise for some clinicians and patients, but many scientists long knew about calcium’s ineffetiveness. It is strange that so many people receive so many possitive messages about the usefulness of calcium when it comes to bone health.
Most guidelines for osteoporosis still overvalue the properties of calcium. Bones in osteoporosis patients become frail and porous as the person advances in age. It is said that even stress can lead to bone fractures.
Mark Bolland was in charge with the first study review, and participated in the second study as well. The team’s findings were published in BMJ, one of the most influential medicine journals in the world.
The first review analyzed two dietary studies that focues on how low versus high levels of calcium affect patients over 50. The team also looked into other 70 studies that tried to find links between calcium supplements and bone fracture risk. When the study ended, researchers found that none of the studies showed any evidence that calcium can positively influence bone fracture risk in any way.
The second review analyzed solely studies that focused on the effect of calcium taken from food and their effects on the mineral density of the bones in patients over 50. This time, researchers found that calcium indeed did increase the mineral density of bones, but the difference was too small to be meaningful – only 1-2%.
Mark Bolland ended his statement by saying that calcium supplements bring nothing but side effects to those who do not need them. Some of these effects are constipation and a lack of energy.
Photo credits: Pixabay