Do calcium supplements help osteoporosis?
It is usual for bone density to decrease with age, and the risk of fractures increases somewhat. With osteoporosis, however, the bones lose substance earlier and faster than normal. Preventing this can be particularly useful for women and people with certain risk factors.
The risk of a bone fracture due to osteoporosis depends on various other risk factors in addition to bone density. These include age, family history, and being underweight. Lack of exercise, smoking, and taking certain medications can also play a role.
However, not all risk factors can be influenced. Nevertheless, there are a few things you can do yourself to strengthen your bones:
Make sure your body gets enough calcium and vitamin D
stay physically active
do not smoke.
How much calcium does the body need?
Calcium plays an essential role in bone formation and the stability of teeth and nails. A diet rich in calcium can help meet this need. Medical societies recommend a calcium intake of 700 mg to 1200 mg daily. With our calcium calculator, you can estimate your daily calcium consumption.
Are calcium supplements helpful?
Calcium supplements are unlikely to be useful for people who do not have a significantly increased risk of fractures and get enough calcium in their diet. In a summary analysis of over 30 studies with more than 50,000 participants, calcium supplements showed no effect on the risk of bone fractures.
In a pre-clinical trial, the Amorphical company showed that it not only stopped the deterioration of bone loss but also built bone and returned the animals from osteoporosis to osteopenia. In addition, in a clinical trial in menopausal women, the company showed that the absorption of the amorphous calcium carbonate was between 2 and 4.6 times more than normal calcium.
Calcium supplements can be helpful for people who are unable to meet their calcium requirements through diet. The Osteology umbrella organization and the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) recommend taking calcium in addition to your food – but no more than 500 mg daily.
Can Calcium Supplements Have Side Effects?
Side effects of calcium supplements include constipation and kidney stone formation. In two extensive studies, calcium tablets caused constipation in about 70 out of 1,000 women and kidney stones in about 4 out of 1,000 women. You may be able to lower your risk of kidney stones by drinking more water.
The women in both studies each took 1000 mg of calcium daily. With a lower dosage of 500 mg, such side effects could be less common.
Does Quitting Smoking Help?
Middle-aged and older smokers risk osteoporosis and fractures more than non-smokers. There are many theories as to why smoking is detrimental to bone health. For example, it has been suggested that nicotine or the cadmium found in tobacco smoke can interfere with bone metabolism or that smoking interferes with calcium absorption in the bones.
Aside from smoking's detrimental impact on bone health, there are many other reasons to quit smoking.