Two new studies suggest that established guidelines for daily calcium intake particularly for the elderly do little to help bone health.
Current guidelines regarding the daily intake of calcium either from food or supplements are built around the idea that calcium helps bone health and prevents fractures, particularly in the case of the elderly. The two new studies published in the journal BMJ on September 20th challenge this status-quo.
The guidelines in place at the moment recommend a daily calcium intake between 1000 and 1200 mg per day. These would help with preventing fractures by improving bone density. As many people don’t manage to take sufficient calcium from their daily diet, they resort to supplements. Still, these aren’t the safest option according to recent studies, and their effects on one’s overall health may be adverse.
According to Doctor Karl Michaelsson of the Uppsala University, Sweden, the two new studies that revisit the effect of calcium intake on bone health should shift the focus from recommending supplements to make up for insufficient amounts from dietary sources to better defining vitamin D and calcium insufficiency and the effects on health.
He added that increasing daily calcium intake doesn’t reduce the risk of bone fractures in the elderly segment of the population. In turn, it may lead to a wide array of other health complications, including gastrointestinal problems, cardiovascular problems, heart attacks and others.
The two recent studies have been conducted by researchers at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. Both have reviewed a cohort of over 100 previous studies investigating the effects of calcium intake on bone health.
“We’ve gathered all the clinical studies of calcium supplements and dietary calcium intake for both bone density and fractures,”
stated Doctor Mark Bolland, associate professor in the department of medicine of the University of Auckland and lead author on one of the studies.
The first study reviewed two investigations focusing on how patients aged over 50 were influenced by a low calcium diet and a high calcium diet. Another 44 investigations looked at the link between bone fractures and diet patterns including milk and dairy products, as well as supplements. 26 investigations had previously looked specifically at the effect of calcium supplements on bone health and fracture risk.
The overall conclusion is that there is no evidence that a higher calcium intake prevents the risk of bone fracture, particularly in the case of the elderly.
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