More calcium does not stregthen bones

A new study from the British Medical Journal in May 2011 shows us why we should stop looking at osteoporosis as a calcium thing. Over 60,000 women were followed for 19 years and their calcium intakes where assessed trying to determine the link between calcium intake and fracture prevention. There was a greater risk between low intake and those in the middle range, but there was no advantage to higher levels of calcium intake.

I continue to be concerned about the heavy focus on calcium supplementation from conventional healthcare providers. Most OB/GYNs and family docs are still telling folks to take 1200-1500mg of calcium supplements daily. The evidence is clearly pointing away from this.

This study actually showed that the highest levels of calcium intake (both food and supplements) had a 19% increased risk of hip fracture! So we need a better framework for thinking about the bones.

To view osteoporosis as a single nutrient deficiency is wrong. We need to start looking at osteoporosis as a manifesation of inflammation. A focus that needs to hone in on the foundation of health: whole foods nutrition, stress management and digestive health. A study in the early 2000's reported that pre-senile osteoporosis was gluten sensitivity until proven otherwise. For many of us, gluten is inflammatory, so this makes sense. Other aspects to focus on are hormone balance, general balance/core strength (the lower risk of fall = lower risk of fracture). Be certain to focus on lots of whole foods like vegetables, beans, lentils, non-breaded fish and regular exercise as the path to strong bones, not Caltrate.

Contributed by:

Dr. Jeffrey Gladd


Dr. Jeffrey Gladd graduated from Indiana University School of Medicine in 2001. He then went on to train in family medicine...

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Dr. Jeffrey Gladd
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