For a long time, the need for eating calcium to strengthen bones was almost unquestioned. But when results from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) trial were released earlier this year, some people wondered whether trying to increase calcium consumption was worth the effort. A more detailed look at the results provides several take-home lessons. Giving up calcium is not one of them. In the WHI studies, more than 36,000 women aged 50 to 79 were randomly assigned to take either a supplement of 1,000 milligrams (mg) of calcium and 400 International Units (IU) of vitamin D or a placebo each day for about seven years. Although the hip bone density of the women who took supplements improved only slightly and their risk of fractures was the same, the data revealed important lessons. 1. More calcium helps only if you don’t get enough. Half of all older American women eat less than 650 mg of calcium from food each day, although 1,200 mg is recommended for all adults after age 50. At the beginning of this study, however, almost one-third of the women in both groups took calcium supplements of at least 500 mg daily. Researchers did […]

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