A recent meta-analysis of research asked if calcium supps should be prescribed to prevent osteoporosis. The answer? A resounding “no.”
The article, written by Ian Reid and published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Metabolism, looked at a horde of data, and found support for the power of calcium supplements to protect against bone loss to be weak. “The balance of risk and benefit seems to be consistently negative,” writes Reid.
Instead, the author concludes, go for the Ben & Jerry’s. OK, he didn’t actually say that, though I wish he did. He said that research points to the benefits of obtaining calcium from our diet, instead of from supplements.
“Dietary calcium intake has not been associated with the adverse effects associated with supplements,” write Reid, “probably because calcium is provided in smaller boluses, which are absorbed more slowly since they come together with quantities of protein and fat, resulting in a slower gastric transit time. He concludes that calcium supps “have little role to play in the modern therapeutics of osteoporosis.”
If you do have an emotional attachment to your calcium supps, however, take heart in the fact that they don’t increase cardiac disease. The results of a study presented at the World Congress on Osteoporosis last month, do not support the hypothesis that calcium supplementation, with or without vitamin D, increases coronary heart disease or all-cause mortality risk in elderly women.