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Calcium for osteoporosis

SOME studies say that calcium supplements help prevent broken bones in older women, but other research says they don't. Might the findings be affected by how regularly women take the supplements ?

A study randomly assigned 1,460 women older than 70 to take 1,200 milligrams of calcium or a placebo daily. Over five years, 236 women (16%) sustained a fracture that was determined to be osteoporosis-related. The number of fractures in the two groups was about the same. However, considering only women who took at least 80% of their supplements or placebo pills during that time, 10% of those taking calcium broke a bone, compared with 15% of those taking the placebo.

Who may be affected by these findings ? Older women. After menopause, women are more prone to calcium deficiency, which contributes to the weakened bones of osteoporosis. It's recommended that women over 50 consume at least 1,200 milligrams of calcium a day.

Caveats: About 43% of the study participants took less than 80% of their supplements or placebos. Thirteen percent of those taking calcium reported constipation, compared with 9% of those taking the placebo. The risk for kidney stones and heart disease did not vary between the groups.

 
 

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