Increased Dietary Calcium Intake Not Linked to Fracture Prevention

The Physicians Committee

Increased Dietary Calcium Intake Not Linked to Fracture Prevention

October 1, 2015


Increasing dietary calcium does not prevent bone fractures, according to two meta-analyses published in the British Medical Journal. Researchers from New Zealand reviewed the existing literature to assess current calcium intake recommendations. The first examined controlled trials and observational studies on dietary and supplemental calcium intake and fracture prevention and found no consistent evidence showing calcium or dairy intake prevent bone fractures. The second meta-analysis showed a very modest increase in bone strength through increased calcium intake or supplementation; too small to suggest any reductions in fracture risk. An additional editorial called for more research to de-emphasize high intakes of calcium without the evidence to support them. The author recommends health organizations reconsider the evidence to produce more practical guidelines free from marketing bias and that minimize side effects.

Bolland MJ, Leung W, Tai V et al. Calcium intake and risk of fracture: systematic review. BMJ. 2015;351:h4580.

Tai V, Leung W, Grey A, et al. Calcium intake and bone mineral density: systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ. 2015;351:h4183.

Michaëlsson K. Calcium supplements do not prevent fractures. BMJ. 2015;351:h4825.


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