Volume 11, Issue 52 June 27, 2014
Do calcium supplements make
your bones weaker?
As you may know, calcium is critical for the quality of your life, and especially as you age. However, I don't recommend calcium supplements. So, you'll likely want to know where to get that calcium. I am repeatedly asked where I get mine, since I eat so little dairy.

In one study, researchers asked 183 postmenopausal women to complete a food survey for one week. Then they measured their bone mineral density and estrogen levels. The results were interesting.

Women who got most of their calcium from food sources took in the least calcium (830 mg on average). However, they had higher spine and hip bone density scores than women taking up to 1,030 mg calcium daily primarily from supplements. In other words, taking too much calcium in supplement form can make your bones weaker. Women who took in calcium evenly between supplements and food had the highest bone mineral density scores.

Women deriving more calcium from food instead of supplements also had higher estrogen levels. Estrogen does help preserve bones. It's not clear the connection between higher dietary calcium and estrogen. However, it's possible that high calcium-containing vegetables could also contain phytoestrogens.

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This was a small study and the survey lasted only one week. However, it supports common sense that nutrition from food, the way God designed it, will beat calcium pills. I adhere to this notion. Kale, spinach, squash, leafy greens, broccoli, and legumes are loaded with calcium. And since these and similar plant foods are the heart and soul of my diet, I don't look any further for calcium.

I always strongly encourage you to improve your diet. If you can't, or you just don't have the availability of high quality foods, then supplements certainly are in order. Start with a high-quality multivitamin like Healthy Resolve. This contains 500 mg of calcium. This is plenty for most people. Then, to protect your bones further, I recommend Ultimate Bone Support. Women who use this combination have very few bone problems.

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, May 2007.

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