Review finds that early calcium supplementation protects against osteoporosis

“Calcium supplementation significantly improves bone mass, implying that preventive calcium supplementation before or around achieving peak bone mass may be a shift in the window of intervention for osteoporosis,”​ wrote researchers from the School of Public Health and Management at Wenzhou Medical University, which funded the study.

The researchers identified 43 studies involving 7,382 subjects through a systematic search of 5,518 publications in the Pubmed, Embase, ProQuest, CENTRAL, WHO Global Index Medicus, Clinical, WHO ICTRP, China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI) and Wanfang Data from database inception to April 25, 2021.

Results covered randomized clinical trials assessing the effects of calcium supplementation on bone mineral density (BMD) or bone mineral content (BMC) in people under 35 years old.

Shifting the window

For the researchers, the findings “have critical implications for the early prevention of fractures in the elderly population”​ that require a whole life cycle approach to bone health rather than waiting until it’s too late.

“Instead of traditionally solving problems when they occurred, that is, treating osteoporosis after a patient has developed osteoporosis, our research attempted to explore the effects of preventive intervention before reaching the plateau and before osteoporosis development,”​ they wrote.

Calcium supplementation was associated with significant improvement in both bone mineral density (BMD) and bone mineral content (BMC), especially on the femoral neck. And a subgroup analysis suggested that femoral neck improvements were more “more pronounced in the peripeak bone mass (PBM) population (20–35 years) than the pre-PBM population (<20 years).”

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