Updated: Feb 17, 2020
People over 50—and women in particular—are often advised to take calcium to avoid broken bones. After considering more than 40 previous studies, a systematic review out of New Zealand has concluded this precautionary measure isn’t necessary. “There is currently no evidence that increasing calcium intake prevents fractures,” the researchers wrote. In short, calcium supplements may not be worth it unless you suffer from a severe calcium deficiency.
This research found that taking vitamin D supplements did not protect against fractures in people over 50. The authors examined over 50,000 people for their analysis.
However, these findings do not apply to elderly people living in nursing homes who may have a poorer diet, less sun exposure and mobility, and who are at particularly high risk for fractures.
The Fitness Doctor's Advice
My advice to my healthy patients is to get calcium from foods! Adopt a Mediterranean-style diet rich in colorful plants, legumes, and fish. A high-protein, low-fat, low-sugar diet can supply plenty of calcium! Elderly people who have vitamin deficiencies and low bone density, are really the only one's who will benefit from taking calcium and vitamin D supplements.
Did you know?
1. The best source of calcium is not milk... it's actually green, leafy vegetables!
2. Darker-skinned people need more vitamin D than light skinned people.
3. The best way to improve bone density is high impact exercises and resistance training.