Increasing calcium won't reduce bone fracture risk, new study finds

April 28, 2016

Topic: Increasing calcium won't reduce bone fracture risk, new study finds

A new study has found that increasing calcium may not actually help preclude the possibility of bone fractures.

Conventional wisdom states that drinking a glass of milk every day is key to strong and healthy bones. And the science certainly backs this up. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the vast majority of calcium intake - around 99 percent - is stored in the bones and teeth, where it is utilized to enhance hardness and structure. For the average adult, the recommended daily intake of calcium is around 1,000 mg and this number increases slightly to 1,200 mg for women over the age of 50 and men over the age of 70. As Market Watch detailed, most people fail to reach this number through food intake alone. Consequently, many adults take calcium supplements.

A new calcium intake study from New Zealand
Despite the importance of calcium for overall bone health, a new study from researchers at the University of Auckland and University of Otago in New Zealand, published in the British Medical Journal, has found that increasing calcium, especially through supplements, may not actually help reduce the possibility of bone fractures. The study, published in the British Medical Journal, examined patients over the age of 50 who consumed dietary and supplemental calcium. Researchers discovered that there is little if any link between increasing calcium intake and bone fractures in either direction: The trial produced little evidence that increased calcium intake, either from dietary or supplemental sources, prevents fractures. Conversely, the survey found that calcium consumption doesn't increase the risk of fracture either. 

"The trial produced little evidence that increased calcium intake prevents fractures."

Why did the authors carry out the study?
Researchers investigated the link between calcium and bone fractures in older patients, because many people over the age of 50, especially those suffering from osteoporosis, take calcium supplements in hope of avoiding a bone fracture. The supplements themselves have been known to result in a number of chronic side effects including stomach problems and even heart attacks, Market Research noted. Subsequently, the purpose of the study was to ascertain whether the benefit of taking daily calcium supplements outweighs the risk. Study authors reached a clear consensus that the benefits associated with taking the supplements in no way outweighs the risk.

Increasing calcium may not reduce risk of fractureIncreasing calcium may not reduce risk of fracture.

Advice going forward
Researchers stressed that maintaining a normal and healthy calcium intake, in accordance with government guidelines, is key to overall bone health. They also explained that food is a better source of calcium than supplements. They also noted that general exercise can be beneficial in helping reduce fractures.

Fractures more likely after a concussion
Another recent study from researchers at the University of North Carolina has focused on the issue of bone fractures. The project observed a link between bone fractures and recent concussion. The survey scrutinized data from college athletes in their early 20s and found that musculoskeletal injuries increased nearly two-fold in the year following a concussion. Researchers offered the explanation that concussion often slows down reaction times, as well as negatively impacts qualities such as gait and posture. All factors combined led to the increase in lower body injuries in concussion sufferers.

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