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Calcium pills may be as good as food

Post-menopausal women absorbed calcium equally as well from supplements as they did from dairy-rich foods in a small study.

When it comes to how older women absorb calcium, supplements are just as good as food for reducing bone calcium loss, according to a small study published in the journal Bone Reports and noted by the Wall Street Journal.

Researchers at the USDA’s Western Human Nutrition Research Center studied a dozen women age 50 to 65 who ate low-dairy diets. In two separate six-week trials, the women consumed four servings of milk or yogurt a day or took a daily calcium supplement. Participants in both trials retained close to 50 mg of calcium each day. While the women’s bone density did not change during the treatment, researchers said that over time, this level of calcium retention could reduce bone loss.

While similar trials need to test the effectiveness on male bone density, this research is promising, writes Doug Harris in a post about the study on Fooddive.com. To accommodate the health of aging populations, manufacturers could incorporate calcium supplements in prepared food products the same way they do with probiotics and protein, he said.

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