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Calcium Supplementation Alone Does Not Protect Against Osteoporosis

March 12, 2010: 09:14 AM EST
For many years calcium has been a recommended dietary supplement for people age 50 and older at risk for osteoporosis, a condition that weakens bones, making them especially susceptible to fractures. But new research confirms that calcium alone is usually not enough to do the job. The study by U.S. and Swiss researchers emphasizes the importance of vitamin D’s ability to help the body put calcium to work. Examining data on 10,000 men and women aged 20 and older who took part in a national survey, the researchers found that correcting inadequate blood levels of vitamin D is more important than increasing dietary calcium intake for better bone mineral density. Unfortunately, calcium intake advice today is not tied to vitamin D status, the researchers said.
Bess Dawson Hughes, Heike A Bischoff-Ferrari and Jean Mayer, "Therapy of Osteoporosis With Calcium and Vitamin D", Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, March 12, 2010, © Wiley-Blackwell
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