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Calcium and bone density

This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

Calcium supplementation beneficially affects bone density in healthy women over age 55, according to a study in the September American Journal of Medicine. The randomized controlled trial of 1,471 healthy, postmenopausal women took place over five years in New Zealand. Subjects received either 1 g of elemental calcium daily (as citrate) or identical placebo, Ian Reid, MD, et al., Department of Medicine, University of Auckland, New Zealand, state. Calcium had a significant beneficial effect on bone density with between-group differences at five years showing increases of 1.8% for the spine, 1.6% for the hip and 1.2% for the total body, researchers state. However, the beneficial effects on bone density were tempered with the "lack of a clear-cut effect of calcium on fracture rates," which may be attributed to the poor rates of long-term compliance, Reid et al. say. The study is the longest and largest calcium-only study yet published and "as such, it is able to establish the beneficial effects of calcium supplementation on bone density with greater certainty than has been possible thus far," according to Reid et al....

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