Calcium supplements reduce risk of fractures in elderly by 24 percent

Thursday, November 29, 2007 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: calcium, nutritional supplements, health news

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(NaturalNews) Taking a daily supplement of calcium can reduce the risk of fractures in people over the age of 50 by 24 percent if a large enough dose is taken, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Western Sydney and published in the medical journal Lancet.

The researchers conducted a meta-analysis of 17 different studies that examined the relationship between calcium supplementation and the risk of fractures in people over the age of 50. Among the total of 50,000 people that the studies looked at, the risk of fractures was 12 percent lower among those who were given calcium supplements, and 24 percent lower among those who were given a daily dose of 1,200 milligrams.

The study's results caused lead author Benjamin Tang to conclude that even among those who take calcium supplements, many are not taking them regularly enough or not taking a large enough dose.

"Unfortunately, most of the tablets are low dosage," he said.

According to Tang, people over the age of 50 should be supplementing with at least 1,200 milligrams per day.

A small number of study participants suffered a side effect of minor stomach upsets. Tang cautioned that because most of the data analyzed by the research team came from studies on women, who are much more likely to suffer fractures or osteoporosis, the effects or side effects for men may be different.

Approximately one in six women suffer a bone fracture after the age of 50, compared with approximately one in 20 men.

According to the United Kingdom's Food Standards Agency, a person should be able to acquire all the calcium they need from a healthy, balanced diet. Certain foods, such as green, leafy vegetables and nuts, are naturally high in calcium, while others are fortified. In the United States, many beverages such as soy milk and orange juice are regularly fortified with calcium, as are bread and margarine in the United Kingdom.

Noted holistic nutritionist Mike Adams (The Health Ranger) notes that Vitamin D must be present in the body for proper assimilation of calcium. People who take calcium supplements but remain Vitamin D deficient, he says, are wasting their money on supplements and not getting the beneficial results they may expect. The majority of Americans, Canadians and Britons are chronically deficient in Vitamin D.

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