by Marion Nestle
Dec 20 2007

Does calcium work?

A new analysis of all kinds of studies on the use of calcium to prevent fractures is just out in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The results? “calcium intake is not significantly associated with hip fracture risk in women or men…[results] show no reduction in hip fracture risk with calcium supplementation, and an increased risk is possible.” It sure would be nice if it were that easy to prevent fractures but bone strength requires a good diet containing ALL nutrients, not just calcium (with or without vitamin D), as well as plenty of physical activity, so these results should not come as a surprise. The bottom line: eat healthfully and move!

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  • This is why I’m a great fan of long-simmered bone broths. Add a tablespoon or so of vinegar to the pot while they simmer, and your broth has all the minerals that occur in bone – and this is important – in the right proportion.

    It’s not hard or time consuming to make these, either – throw the leftover chicken or turkey carcass in a crockpot with water and vinegar, and leave it to cook overnight.

    As for Vitamin D, maybe if we stopped wearing sunscreen year round and saved it for days when we expect to be out in the sun all day, our bones would be healthier. It couldn’t hurt to eat egg yolk and liver, too.

  • Anonymous

    Yes. Anecdotally, coral calcium (w/vitamin D) has proven enormously helpful for severe PMS issues. It that means a good supplement, so be it.

  • noelle

    How about progesterone? I read that an imbalance of estrogen and progesterone contributes to bone loss. So, even if you’re eating calcium and absorbing it, your body has to have the right hormones (as well as other factors, I’m sure) in order to use that calcium to make new bone.

    PS: I’m not a doctor or anything; this is just stuff that I’ve read in books written by doctors, so I thought I’d mention it. =)