A study that is revolving around osteoporosis has revealed that calcium supplements are useless in providing long-term strengthening of bones. Osteoporosis is a disease in which the bones become extremely porous, are subject to fracture, and heal slowly, occurring especially in women following menopause and often leading to curvature of the spine from vertebral collapse.
The paper, published online by the British Medical Journal (BMJ), is a review of 19 major studies that involved nearly 2,900 healthy children aged between three and 18.
They included children who were given calcium supplements for at least three months and whose bone health was then monitored more than six months afterwards.
Children taking the supplements only had 1.7-percent better bone density in their upper limbs compared to counterparts who did not take the extra calcium.
This small benefit did persist in the upper limbs, but there was no noteworthy effect on the rest of body, especially at sites such as the hip and lower spine that are prone to fracture later in life.
Bone density reduces among women after the menopause, so doctors are keen to boost bone mass early in life through diet and exercise.
“The small effect of calcium supplementation on bone mineral density in the upper limb is unlikely to reduce the risk of fracture, either in childhood or later life, to a degree of major public health importance,” the paper read.
It suggests other dietary paths, such as taking more vitamin D — produced naturally by the skin’s exposure to the Sun and present in oily fish — and eating more fruit and vegetables.
The lead author of the study is Tania Winzenberg of Menzies Research Institute in Tasmania, Australia.