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.


4 thoughts on “Calcium

  1. Devon Buono

    Growing up, all I heard was “Drink your milk. It will strengthen your bones.”. My brothers and I lived by this. We went though at least a gallon of milk a day. I never questioned if drinking milk could actually strengthen my bones, I just assumed it was true. When I stumbled upon your post, I knew I had to read it. Once I finished reading your post, I was genuinely surprised. I would have never thought that calcium had no affect on bone density. I decided to look up a credible experiment testing this in children to make sure this was true. I read about a meta-analysis, which included 19 trials, and roughly 3,000 healthy children ( Between all of those trials, they came to a conclusion that calcium had little to no affect on the bone density of children. Reading your post, and the meta-analysis, there is little doubt in my mind that calcium strengthens bones. I am glad I read this post. It was very interesting, and made me realize I was living a lie!

  2. Thomas John Krieger

    This was a good topic because like you said we all have heard this so many times. I never drink milk, and my mom has always told me that I need to in order to get stronger bones. I am glad to hear that milk isn’t really needed for bone strength. My father had kidney stones because of an excess of calcium. I’m sure he would have rather the chance of a broken bone instead of kidney stones. The video below says there is an even bigger danger from too much milk which has a lot of calcium.

  3. rvm5523

    Great post! Like most people, I was also told to drink milk as a child and I always did. But once I got to my current age and early teens I started working out more and was told by multiple sources that there were other ways to build muscle and bone density. Through your data it makes sense that milk has some effect on density but supports your hypothesis well in proving it is not 100% necessary. I found a link on that questions if calcium and milk is just a marketing scam. Here it is, Thanks for the post!

  4. Anthony Michael Calligaro

    Hi Alexandra. I found this blog very interesting as I love to drink milk. For breakfast, lunch, dinner, it doesn’t matter. My family joked that I would go through a gallon a day (and they were not far off). Obviously, I have heard of this belief that drinking milk makes people’s bones stronger, but I never stopped to question the validity behind this theory. At first, I thought you would tell me good news, but as you went on, you found studies that not only refuted the benefits of calcium, but also provided evidence for why calcium is bad for you. According to WebMD (link below), milk is recommended by US health officials. However, the article goes on to mention new studies that might suggest otherwise. In these new studies, drinking milk has not reduced the rate of bone fractures, but has actually increased people’s rate of death compared to those who have not had as much milk to drink. Even the researchers admit that more research is necessary. So, like you, I am frustrated by this conclusion. I’ll be crossing my fingers that milk is healthy!

Leave a Reply