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IMS Menopause Live

Calcium supplements and bone health in the menopausal transition

20 April 2020

Summary

Calcium supplement use has been common in North America since calcium balance studies in the 1970s suggested that balance was directly related to the intake of this element [1]. Subsequent more rigorous analyses of balance studies [2] and randomized controlled trials of calcium supplements on bone density [3] and fractures [4,5] have not supported calcium supplement use. Recently, Bailey et al. have used data from an observational study of women entering the menopause and compared fracture rates and changes in bone mineral density (BMD) over a 10-year period between users and non-users of calcium supplements [6]. Supplement use had no impact on fracture incidence (relative risk 1.16, P=0.5) nor on bone loss in those who were perimenopausal at study entry. In women who were premenopausal at study entry, there was no difference in the unadjusted bone loss but, after adjustment, spine BMD loss was 0.36%/year and 0.47%/year in supplement users and non-users, respectively, and hip BMD loss was 0.35%/year and 0.44%/year in the two groups (P≤0.002).

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