I think that almost everyone has heard from an adult at some point in their childhood to make sure they drink more milk because it will make your bones stronger. For generations, it has been believed that the calcium, that is mainly found in dairy products, could increase bone density and strength. I never thought to question whether this was actually true or not; I just took their word for it. However, recently this has become a big topic of issue. Scientists have begun to question whether calcium actually helps strengthen your bones and if it can reduce the risk of fractures and breaking. I decided to do some more research on whether calcium is beneficial.
Within my researching, I found a study, led by professor Mark J. Bolland, that analyzed the effects of extra calcium intake through dairy or supplements to see if there is a correlation to bone density. The study included male and female participants over the age of 50. They had randomized control trials where they would give the patients calcium supplements in addition to vitamin D supplements or a placebo. The researchers found that the chance of bone fracture was decreased by eleven percent after taking the calcium supplements. However, the results were not uniform with every trial. Therefore, it is concluded that there is not enough consistent evidence to prove that calcium, whether taken by supplements or through dairy products, can significantly reduce the chance of bone fractures or breaking (Bolland 2015).
I decided to look further into this topic and found many researchers and doctors who also not only believe that calcium does not contribute to a reduction in bone fractures, but calcium intakes could cause other health issues as well. In an article written by Maggie Fox, for NBC News, she explains how a study found that additional calcium supplements could cause build up in your arteries or kidneys, which could lead to heart disease and kidney stones. In addition, some studies have even found a correlational between a higher risk of cancer and an increased intake of calcium (Fox 2015).
The studies mentioned in the article have the same conclusion as the study conducted by Bolland: calcium intake can slightly increase bone density, but there is not enough evidence to prove that it is significantly beneficial. The article suggests exercising as a way of increasing bone density, instead of relying solely on calcium supplements (Fox 2015). These articles and studies prove to be very informative and helpful for people who are looking to strengthen their bones and trying to reduce the risk of bone damage.