Two new studies are now showing that calcium supplements may not actually be as good for your bones as previously believed. The studies, both completed by the same team of researchers and published in the recent issue of The British Medical Journal, examined the effect of calcium supplements or calcium-rich foods on the bones of those over the age of 50.
According to Time, the typical recommended intake of calcium has been between 1,000 and 1,200 mg per day for years. However, the new studies show that not only does calcium not strengthen your bones, but it may actively harm the body.
“Clinical trials of calcium supplements at doses of 1,000 mg/day, however, have reported adverse effects,” said the New Zealand-based researchers, “including cardiovascular events, kidney stones, and hospital admissions for acute gastrointestinal symptoms.”
In this study, the researchers reviewed randomized, controlled trials focused on the effects of calcium intake in men and women over the age of 50. By measuring the bone density, researchers found that calcium only increased bone density by 1 to 2% over five years, which they believe is “non-progressive” to density recovery.
The second study examined the link between calcium intake and the risk of bone fracture. They found that there is no clinical evidence that proves that dietary calcium intake is associated with lower fracture rates.
“Dietary calcium intake is not associated with risk of fracture, and there is no clinical trial evidence that increasing calcium intake from dietary sources prevents fractures,” the team wrote. “Evidence that calcium supplements prevent fractures is weak and inconsistent.”
This is bad news for the 54 million Americans currently at risk of a bone-thinning disease. Those with an increased risk of fracture and sustain an injury that may have resulted in bone damage are recommended to visit an emergency room or urgent care right away. Four out of five (80%) urgent care centers provide fracture care, and emergency care can ensure that little damage is done.
There are many other ways that a person over the age of 50 can help keep their bones strong, according to NBC News. This includes exercise, such as jogging, lifting weights, or dancing. In addition, cutting down on alcohol and cigarettes can help prevent weakened bones.