Calcium Not as Great for Bones as Once Thought ‘Study’

Updated: October 1, 2015
Calcium Not as Great for Bones as Once Thought, Study

Calcium supplements may not help your bones, study finds.

Two new studies suggest a lack of evidence to support taking calcium for better bone health or to prevent fractures.

“The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force have never recommended calcium for most people,” said ABC Chief Medical Ediotr Dr. Richard Besser, “This is the science catching up with some of those recommendations.”

But that’s not what doctors have been telling women — Dr. Besser says 60% of women over the age of 60 take calcium supplements.

Instead of strengthening bones, research shows the extra calcium may clog arteries, leading to heart disease and may also cause kidney stones.

“Only elderly women in nursing homes, who really aren’t able to move around, saw enough benefit that it was worth taking calcium. For everyone else, the risk from calcium outweighed any small benefit that was seen in some of the studies,” said Dr. Besser.

Even eating extra calcium rich foods still won’t prevent fractures — you should still eat the recommended amount from foods like yogurt and milk, but adding more won’t do you any good.

Dr. Besser says weight-bearing exercises like lifting and yoga are recommended to strengthen bones.

“When you’re using your muscles, putting weight on those bones, it’s telling your body to put calcium into your bones and maintain the strength,” explained the doctor.

Smoking and drinking excessively can also lead to brittle bones and increase your risk of fractures.