Study: Increased intake of calcium doesn’t strengthen bones of elderly

Maintaining a calcium intake of at least 1000-1200 mg/day has long been recommended for older individuals to treat and prevent osteoporosis. Calcium supplements are commonly taken to achieve such intakes, which are considerably higher than the average intake of calcium in the diet in older people in Western countries, around 700-900 mg/day. Recently, concerns have emerged about the risk-benefit profile of calcium supplements. The small reductions in total fractures seem outweighed by the moderate risk of minor side effects such as constipation, coupled with the small risk of severe side effects such as cardiovascular events, kidney stones, and admission to hospital with acute gastrointestinal symptoms.

The study concludes: Increasing calcium intake from dietary sources or by taking calcium supplements produces small non-progressive increases in BMD, which are unlikely to lead to a clinically significant reduction in risk of fracture.

Read the study in British Medical Journal