October 26, 2015 – Calcium Supplements


Anchor lead: If you’re taking a calcium supplement you may need to rethink that, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Many women take calcium supplements, but recent studies in the British Medical Journal taking a look at a very large number of studies and participants came to a surprising conclusion: they’re not helpful.  Redonda Miller, an internal medicine expert at Johns Hopkins, comments.

Miller: The study taking a look at calcium intake and bone mineral density brought about some surprising results. The actual increase in bone mineral density from taking calcium supplements was one to two percent at best.  The increase occurred predominantly in the first year or two and then leveled off, so there was no sustained added benefit from continuing to take calcium supplements. I was quite surprised by this modest effect that probably does not translate into any clinical significance.  :31

Calcium supplements are intended to assist women in building stronger bones to avoid fractures later in life, but this study demonstrates that they don’t achieve that objective. Another recent survey showed that thirty to fifty percent of women nationally are taking daily calcium.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.