Although it is current practice to prescribe vitamin D and calcium together, particularly in post menopausal women, a six year study shows that the added calcium has no value.
The women were all over the age of 65 and had osteopenia. This is the stage before osteoporosis. 1,994 women were randomised to take zolendronic acid or placebo. Bone mineral density was measured at the spin, total hip, femoral neck and total body three times at intervals.
The baseline BMD was unrelated to dietary calcium after controlling for age, height, weight, physical activity, alcohol intake, smoking and past HRT use when a cross section of women were studied.
Loss of BMD over the next six years was not related to the amount of dietary calcium ingested.
Bristow SM et al. Dietary Calcium intake and bone loss over six years in osteopenic post menopausal women. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2019 Mar 21.
My comment: Maybe time to ditch the calcium?
And while we are on the subject of bones, I’m pleased to say that another study has shown that high dose vitamin D supplementation does NOT increase kidney stone risk.
Over just over 3 years of taking 100,000 iu of vitamin D3 each month did not increase excess calcium in the blood or the onset of kidney stones in adults aged between 50 and 84 years.
This dose is equivalent to 3300 iu vit D3 a day, similar to what many of us in the know take.
158 people took part in the randomised trial. The number of people developing kidney stones was similar in each group and no one in the intervention group developed hypercalcaemia. The groups self reported stones. No ultrasound was done which the authors say could have been more accurate.
Malihi Z et al. Monthly high dose vitamin D supplementation does not increase kidney stone risk or serum calcium: results from a randomised controlled trial. Am J Clin. Nutr. 2019 Apr 21
5 thoughts on “Dietary calcium doesn’t make your bones stronger after all”
Hmm, I had always been told that the reason to take calcium is to assist post menopausal women reduce the chances calcium deficiency. I use it for an entirley different reason. I so dislike milk and dairy that I have not eaten more than a small amounts for many years. I went ahead and started Calcium C and vitamin D. In particular I use the vitamin D. So far things have worked out, Likely no one knows if this is good or bad for me but it works.
PS: The supplement industry thinks i made a terrific decision.
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I’ve also heard that the kind of calcium makes a difference in how well it is absorbed. Not sure of the specifics but I can see it being true.
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Vitamin K 2 can also improve bone density a little. Prawns and tinned salmon with the bones mashed up are also high calcium foods. I’ve been aware of the calcium debate for some time and am now just giving vitamin D 3 on its own. Some people find this easier to comply with than the drinks and big tablets with calcium in them.
I nominate you
The sunshine blogger award