Two meta-analyses have a bone to pick with calcium. The meta-analyses, reported on by NutraIngredients and published in the BMJ, both examined calcium’s efficacy in regards to increasing bone mineral density and decreasing fracture risk. The first analysis found that increasing dietary calcium intake did not seem to reduce the risk of fractures. The second analysis found that increasing calcium intake from dietary or supplementary sources resulted in only a small (1–2%) increase in bone mineral density. However, when considering this research, it’s important to keep in mind the following:
Calcium is an essential nutrient, and adequate amounts are necessary for many functions in the body. An “adequate amount” will vary according to each individual’s needs. Previous research has found that calcium supplementation appears to be beneficial primarily for people whose regular dietary calcium intake is low. For people who consume sufficient amounts of calcium, it is unclear whether taking more calcium is beneficial for bone health.
The Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee reported that the majority of Americans did not get sufficient calcium from diet alone, and recommended that most people increase their consumption of foods rich in this nutrient (as well as vitamin D and phosphorous) to ensure healthy bones. Some good food sources of calcium include yogurt, milk, cheese, tofu, collard greens, spinach, and fortified foods like orange juice and cereal. A multivitamin can also be a convenient way to boost your calcium intake if needed. Of course, always consult your healthcare practitioner before adding new supplements to your health regimen.