A new study has found that calcium supplements in people under 35 could significantly improve bone mass. Their analysis included more than 7,300 participants across 43 studies. The researchers found that both dietary sources of calcium and calcium supplementation had positive effects on overall bone mineral density, but bone mineral density measurements of the femoral neck and lumbar spine were only improved following calcium supplementation.
What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis, when bones become porous and weaker due to loss of bone density, is an important health concern during aging. It weakens bones to the point where they break easily — most often, bones in the hip, backbone (spine), and wrist. Osteoporosis is called a “silent disease” because you may not notice any changes until a bone breaks. All the while, though, your bones had been losing strength for many years.
The Bone Bank Account
Think of bone as a bank account where you “deposit” and “withdraw” bone tissue. During childhood and teenage years, new bone is added to the skeleton faster than old bone is removed. As a result, bones become larger, heavier, and denser. After age 20, bone “withdrawals” can begin to exceed “deposits.” Osteoporosis develops when bone removal occurs too quickly, replacement occurs too slowly, or both.
You are more likely to develop osteoporosis if you did not reach your maximum peak bone mass during your bone-building years. The results of this study are important because rather than waiting to treat osteoporosis once it’s already developed, it was shown that increasing calcium intake earlier in life may protect against osteoporosis later in life.
Liu, Yupeng, et al. “The Effect of Calcium Supplementation in People under 35 Years Old: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials.” 2022, https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.04.14.22273724.
“Osteoporosis.” National Institute on Aging, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/osteoporosis.
“Osteoporosis.” Osteoporosis | Office on Women’s Health, https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/osteoporosis.
“What Is Bone?” National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, https://bones.nih.gov/health-info/bone/bone-health/what-is-bone.