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Not Quite a Quack, But Nearly ...

12/15/2007 - News

Not Quite a Quack, But Nearly ...

By: Robert W. Griffith, MD

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Calcium, whether from food or a supplemental, isn't able to prevent hip fractures in men or women, according to a report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition . This is surprising, as calcium supplementation or the consumption of calcium-rich food is generally recommended for preventing osteoporosis and its associated fractures.

Swiss researchers did a meta-analysis of seven studies in women and five in men that compared the effects of calcium supplements taken for one year with no supplementation. There were over 170,000 women and 68,000 men, with 3,000 and 214 hip fractures, respectively. There was no association between total calcium intake and the risk of hip fracture in either sex. In fact, there was suggestion of an increased risk for hip fractures in the calcium-takers.

It should be noted that vitamin D was not taken in addition to the calcium, even though this is often recommended. However, there as no difference in the results for women living in the south, where there would presumably be plenty of vitamin D due to the increased amount of sunshine.

The researchers suggest that future studies are needed, which should concentrate on the best combination of calcium, vitamin D, and, if necessary, correction of phosphate deficiency. And, of course, one should remember that calcium alone is unlikely to be the 'cure' for the risk of fractures as one ages; as with other food constituents that have been identified as being beneficial, it's likely that the "whole food" approach is going to be more effective than isolated molecules.

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HealthandAge Blog

Created on: 12/15/2007
Reviewed on: 12/15/2007

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