Consuming more calcium—and also having a high dietary calcium/phosphorus ratio—may help men and women retain a higher bone density, according to a new South Korean study. About 54 million Americans have low bone density or osteoporosis, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation. The disease causes an estimated two million broken bones every year.
For the study, researchers analyzed data from 4,935 people (2,309 men and 2,626 women) taken from the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted in 2010. They estimated calcium and phosphorus intakes using records of the food the subjects ate. Researchers used dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry to measure bone mass density for the whole body, femoral neck and lumbar spine.
The results suggested that calcium intake and the ratio of calcium to phosphorus were positively linked to bone mass density. For men under 50 years of age, both factors were positively related to bone mass density in the femoral neck (p = 0.046 and 0.041, respectively). Dietary calcium intake showed positive associations with bone mass density for the whole body in premenopausal women (p=.022). The study’s authors said that more research is needed to determine further gender and age-specific effects.
The study was published in Nutrition Journal.
Earlier last year, a study of nearly 75,000 women found no independent associations between supplemental calcium intake and the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke. The research, which appeared in the peer-reviewed journal Osteoporosis International, countered previous studies that suggested calcium supps may be linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease.