about calcium supplements for older adults are in the news.
Recent studies published in the British Medical Journal found
that extra dietary calcium intake was not associated with
fracture reduction and that increasing dietary calcium intake
does not prevents fractures.
says Mayo Clinic endocrinologist Dr. Robert Wermers, Americans
aren't getting enough calcium in their diet. The median
dietary intake in the U.S. for women age 50 or older is
589-649 mg per day and 728-777 per day for men. He says that
despite the new findings, he recommends patients follow the
Institute of Medicine’s guidelines of 1200 mg of calcium in
women 51 years of age and older, 1000 mg daily for men 51-70
years old and 1200 mg for those above 70 years of age.
Wermers says, "The ability to maintain calcium balance
worsens, and bone loss accelerates after 50 years of age. Your
risk of fracture also increases with older age. In fact,
several studies have shown that calcium combined with low
daily doses of vitamin D reduces fracture risk and increases
bone density." Calcium supplements, he says, should be
considered only if you do not get the recommended daily amount
of calcium through diet.
doesn't produce calcium on its own and we need vitamin D to
help absorb it. So, how do we get calcium in our diet? Sources
Dairy products, such as cheese, milk and yogurt
green leafy vegetables, such as broccoli and kale
with edible soft bones, such as sardines and canned salmon
Calcium-fortified foods and beverages, such as soy products,
cereal and fruit juices, and milk substitutes
D can be found in many foods including fish, eggs, fortified
milk and cod liver oil. Taking calcium supplements doesn't
come without risks. They may increase the risk of kidney
stones compared to dietary calcium, which reduces kidney stone
risk. Dr. Wermers says, "Patients with chronic kidney
disease should carefully consider the use of calcium
supplements with their provider before starting as there are
some cardiovascular concerns in this population." He
adds, "Calcium and vitamin D alone in patients at high
fracture risk is not as beneficial as using them combined with
with your health care provider to find out if calcium
supplements are right for you.