No bone boost with extra calcium, study shows

Raising dietary calcium intake beyond recommended levels does not further reduce risk of fracture or osteoporosis, a study has shown.

Calcium intake beyond recommended levels does not further reduce risk of fracture or osteoporosis, say researchers
Calcium intake beyond recommended levels does not further reduce risk of fracture or osteoporosis, say researchers

Swedish researchers examined the diets of 61,000 middle aged and elderly women over a 19-year period.

They found the risk of fracture was higher in women who consumed less than 700mg of calcium per day. But researchers found no additional benefit by increasing intake beyond this level.

Results even suggested the risk of fracture may increase as dietary calcium levels exceed 1000mg.

The findings suggest that supplementing dietary calcium beyond the recommended level of 700mg for over 50s provides no extra benefit to long-term bone health.

The researchers used lifestyle and diet surveys to estimate dietary calcium intake. They then tracked fractures and diagnosis of osteoporosis during follow-up.

The researchers grouped respondents into five categories depending on level of calcium intake, and worked out the relative risk of fracture or osteoporosis.

During the follow-up, 24% of women had a first fracture including 6% with first hip fracture. 20% of a sub-group of 5,022 women developed osteoporosis.

For every 1,000 women who consumed less than 750mg per day, an extra three would suffer a fracture of any type compared with those consuming about 900mg per day.

Such a difference in dietary calcium also increases the risk of hip fracture by 29% and osteoporosis by 47%.

Researchers said that the questionnaire used to assess dietary calcium intake may have overestimated the amount of calcium in diets by up to 100mg.

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