[PHNUTR-L] Effects of calcium supplementation on bone density in
Kathrynne Holden, MS, RD
fivestar at nutritionucanlivewith.com
Fri Sep 15 09:50:11 PDT 2006
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Public release date: 14-Sep-2006
Contact: Emma Dickinson
EDickinson at bmj.com
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Calcium supplements fail to prevent bone fractures in children
Effects of calcium supplementation on bone density in healthy children:
Meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials
Calcium supplements have very little benefit for preventing fractures in
childhood and later adulthood, concludes a study in the BMJ.
Children taking such supplements are have only small improvements in
bone density, which are unlikely to reduce fracture risk, says the study
carried out by researchers at the Menzies Research Institute in
Australia and other approaches could be more beneficial such as
increasing vitamin D concentrations and eating more fruit and vegetables.
Osteoporosis is a major public health problem, particularly in women,
and low bone mineral density is an important risk factor for
osteoporotic fractures. Bone density worsens for women after the
menopause, so intervention in childhood to maximise peak bone mass by
improving factors such as diet and physical activity can minimise the
impact of bone loss related to age.
The researchers analysed the findings of 19 different studies involving
2,859 children collectively aged between three and 18. They included
randomised trials of calcium supplementation in healthy children that
lasted at least three months and which measured bone outcomes after at
least six months of follow-up.
They found there was a small effect on total body bone mineral content
and upper limb bone mineral density – children taking the supplements
only had 1.7% better bone density in their upper limbs than children not
taking the supplements.
However, there was no effect at important sites in the body for fracture
in later life – namely the hip and lumbar spine. After children stopped
taking calcium supplements, the effect persisted at the upper limb, but
disappeared for total body bone mineral content.
The authors conclude: "The small effect of calcium supplementation on
bone mineral density in the upper limb is unlikely to reduce the risk of
fracture, either in childhood or later life, to a degree of major public
health importance. It may be appropriate to explore alternative
nutritional interventions, such as increasing vitamin D concentrations
and intake of fruit and vegetables."
Kathrynne Holden, MS, RD < fivestar at nutritionucanlivewith.com >
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