- Calcium plays an important role in bone health. A deficiency can lead to low bone density and cause conditions such as osteoporosis.
- Calcium supplementation in later life slightly reduces the risk of osteoporosis or fracture.
- previous search for Effect of supplemental calcium on bone mineral growthYoung people (35 years or younger). was specified.
- Researchers recently completed a systematic review to summarize the evidence for the effect of calcium supplementation in younger age groups, and found that supplementation actually improves bone mass..
Osteoporosis, in which bones become porous and weaker due to loss of bone density, is an important health concern during aging.
The condition increases the risk of fractures, particularly of the hip, vertebral vertebrae, and wrists. Osteoporosis particularly affects older women and usually occurs as a result of hormonal changes or a lack of calcium or vitamin D.
In a new study recently published in eLifeResearchers from Wenzhou Medical University, China, They looked for randomized controlled trials comparing calcium or calcium plus vitamin D with placebo or no treatment in participants under age 35. Specifically, the researchers examined bone mineral density, or bone mineral content.
Their analysis included more than 7,300 participants in 43 studies and examined changes in bone mineral density and mineral content in the lumbar spine, femoral neck, total hip, and total body.
Bone mineral density tests It can provide a snapshot of a person’s bone health.
Bone mass changes occur naturally over time, with peak bone mass occurring in your twenties – although there is a difference between males and females.
In the new study, researchers found that calcium supplementation in people under the age of 35 can significantly improve bone mineral density levels for both the total body and the femoral neck and slightly increase the mineral density in the femoral neck, total body and lumbar spine.
This improvement was more pronounced in subjects aged 20-35 years (peak bone mass age, where there are plateaus in bone mass) than in subjects younger than 20 years (peak bone mass age before peak).
Professor Joan Marie LabbeR.N., associate dean in the School of Nursing Research at the Osteoporosis Research Center at Creighton University in Omaha, Northeast, not involved in the study, explained the findings to Medical news today:
Younger people need enough calcium to build and maintain strong bones. In the analysis, both calcium supplementation and dietary calcium studies were included. Dietary calcium is the best source, but supplements should be taken as needed to achieve the recommended intake level.”
The researchers found that both dietary sources of calcium and calcium supplementation had positive effects on overall bone mineral density, but measurements of mineral density in the femoral neck and lumbar spine did not improve until after calcium supplementation.
Professor Labbe noted, “Previous research and the human physiology of calcium tell us that without adequate calcium intake, the body takes calcium from the bones for use in other vital functions.”
Research also shows that peak bone mass (aged 25-30) is the best predictor of osteoporotic fractures in older adults. Thus, reaching the maximum mass provides protection against osteoporosis.
– Professor Joanne Marie Labbe, Ph.D., RN
Lily ChapmanBA, MA, performance and sports coach and sports nutritionist, not involved in research, notably MNT Studies have consistently shown that increasing dietary calcium intake or including calcium supplements can help increase peak bone mass/content/density and reduce bone loss.
However, Chapman noted that most studies to date tend to include older participants.
“Aging leads to accelerated bone density loss, accompanied by changes in the microstructure. Knowing the current pressure on health care systems and the growing importance of a proactive and preventive approach [the] In the field of health and fitness, this research plays an important role in being the first meta-analysis recognized to focus on age before peak bone mass is reached. “
– Lily Chapman BSc., MSc.
Reviewing the study results, Chapman said:
“Significant improving effects of calcium supplementation have been found on both bone mineral density and bone mineral content, particularly in the femoral neck. This is a promising finding, as people who develop peak bone mass when they are younger are more likely to be better protected against health problems. such as osteoporosis and related fractures later in life.”
Prof. Lappé noted that “there is no specific recommended age to start supplementation. Guidelines [in the United States] He recommends calcium intake by age group, 1,000 milligrams per day for those ages 19 to 50 and 1,200 milligrams per day for those over 50. Supplements should be used at any age if adequate calcium is not obtained from food. “
The researchers note several limitations in their publication.
For example, researchers have not clearly compared the difference between males and females due to the limitations of existing data (some studies provided combined data for males and females without males only). They also noted that few of the studies they included in the analysis focused on the 20- to 35-year-old.
Chapman noted this in her review. “Only three studies met the inclusion criteria for the 20-35 age group, which means that a high proportion of the participants were adolescents,” Chapman said.
With this, further studies to investigate the 20-35 age group are warranted to help standardize these findings, as this is a period of life when bone mineral density is at its peak. But overall, there is a promising area of research that poses many strengths, mainly because it is one of the first meta-analyses of its kind! “
The researchers highlighted that although the number of studies in the 20-35 age group was small, their evidence was of high quality, and results were stable, especially in the femoral neck.
Based on this research, people over 35 may wonder if it’s too late to start taking calcium supplements. In response to this important question, Professor Labe noted, “It is never too late.”
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