Calcium supplements taken in small doses by women may have more benefits than just a therapeutic arsenal against osteoporosis, a condition that makes bones brittle and fragile with advancing years. It can help them live longer, claims a new study.
The study found a daily intake of moderate level of calcium supplements (up to 1,000 mg per day) can lower the mortality risk for women. Though, calcium supplements helped promote longevity in the fairer sex, no such statistical benefits for men.
Lead author of the study, Dr David Goltzman, of McGill University in Montreal, said, “Our study found daily use of calcium supplements was associated with a lower risk of death among women.
“The benefit was seen for women who took doses of up to 1,000 mg per day, regardless of whether the supplement contained vitamin D.”
He added, “Higher amounts of calcium were potentially linked to longer lifespans in women, regardless of the source of the calcium.”
In order to determine whether, moderate doses of calcium supplements confer benefits to women’s health, the researchers conducted a study.
They analyzed data from the large-scale Canadian Multicentre Osteoporosis Study, which tracked the health of 9,033 Canadians between 1995 and 2007. During the study period, a total of 1,160 deaths were documented.
The analysis revealed that the risk of death was 22 percent lower for women using calcium supplements compared with non-users.
However, the study found no conclusive evidence vitamin D had an impact on mortality. In addition, intake of calcium in mega doses (bigger than 1,000mg a day) also conferred no significant benefits. As per experts, one can experience the same health advantages when the calcium came from dairy foods, non-dairy foods or supplements.
The study suggests several possible mechanisms for promoting longevity. According to the researchers calcium supplements are tied to a better balance of blood fats, lower risk of high blood pressure, better bone metabolism and bowel health.
The authors stated, “Our analysis showed that total calcium intake among women was more likely to be beneficial than harmful, and that the same was true of calcium intake from dairy sources, non-dairy sources, and supplements.
“In fact, we observed that supplemental calcium intake up to 1,000 mg a day among women was associated with statistically significant decreased mortality, although the results were inconclusive for supplement intake exceeding 1,000 mg a day.”
This study was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism (JCEM).