October 27, 2015 – Calcium Harms?


Anchor lead:  Who should really take a calcium supplement? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Calcium supplements are very popular, with a recent survey finding one in three or one in two women taking them.  Yet two studies in the British Medical Journal show they don’t improve bone density or reduce fracture risk, as they are intended to do.  Redonda Miller, an internal medicine expert at Johns Hopkins, says each person’s case should be examined individually.

Miller:  As physicians we need to make sure to tell our patients to focus on modalities we know do work. Weight bearing exercise would be at the top of my list, calcium supplementation has fallen more out of favor and probably has benefit in select populations, and that requires a conversation between the patient and his or her doctor. But routine widespread use of calcium supplements is really not supported by this particular article.   :27

Research has shown that harms relative to calcium supplements may range from increased numbers of kidney stones to promotion of atherosclerosis. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.