According to a recent study, calcium supplementation through food or dietary supplements is less likely to promote bone health and prevent frail bones from shattering in the elderly.
Study authors hope that their study may have ‘the final word’ in a controversy that has been running for years. Although official guidelines recommend older people to take at least 1,000 to 1,200 mg of calcium every day to stave off osteoporosis and fractures, the recent study says that an uptake in calcium intake have little to no effect on bone density and frailty.
The recent study may be a hard blow to global calcium supplements industry since the market is worth $4 billion every year. Yet researchers at Auckland University wanted to learn whether calcium supplementation can benefit all people.
They reviewed a plethora of observational studies and trials about the benefits of calcium supplementation in people aged 50 or older. Researchers also factored out from their findings the results that seemed biased or were of low quality.
In a first phase, the group learned that people who consumed more calcium through food or dietary supplements on a daily basis saw only a 1 to 2 percent improvement in bone density and mineralization. The effect is not clinically significant, and cannot prevent bone fracture.
In a second phase, study authors learned that they couldn’t find any clinical trial evidence that increasing calcium in one’s diet from dietary sources, aka foods, can prevent fractures from occurring.
In consequence, study authors recommend policymakers, public health authorities, and doctors alike not to recommend calcium from supplements or dietary sources to ward off bone fractures in the elderly.
Researchers noted that most adults aged 50 or more reported that they increased their calcium and vitamin D intake in a bid that it may help them prevent bone fractures. But the team believes that calcium supplementation would not be beneficial to most.
Study authors said that bone density could be maintained through balanced diet, a controlled weight, and staying away from alcohol abuse and smoking.
The recent study reveals that a one-size-fits-all is not effective in all age groups. And little is known about seniors’ needs when it comes to calcium intake. Plus, the group is very ‘heterogenous’ and diverse group, another researcher noted.
Nevertheless, researchers not involved in the study believe that more studies need to be done before drawing final conclusions since diary products are a very important source not only of calcium but also of protein for many old people.
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