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Dairy and Calcium Supplements Shown To Boost Calcium Levels Equally

Women are four times more likely than men to develop the degenerative bone disease osteoporosis, especially later in life. A recent study suggests that food and supplements may boost calcium levels equally in postmenopausal women.


Participants in the study included 12 postmenopausal women who were given either four servings of milk or yogurt per day — containing 1,300 mg of calcium and 400 IU of vitamin D3 — or supplements containing 1,200 mg calcium carbonate and 400 IU of vitamin D3 daily for six weeks. This was followed by a six-week washout period after which the participants crossed over to the other intervention.


The researchers used radioisotope calcium-41 (41Ca) tracers to measure calcium retention. They found that the ratio of 41Ca to 40Ca decreased significantly over time for both groups, with no statistical differences between the groups. They did not, however, note any changes in bone marker formations, which they hypothesized was due to the short study period.


Researchers from the University of California, Davis, the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, and the Lawrence Livermore National Library conducted the study. It was published in the December 2016 issue of Bone Reports.


Calcium is best known for its effect on bone health, but previous studies suggest it can also help with weight loss, skin health, and reducing the risk of stroke. Some studies have even suggested that calcium intake is associated with increased longevity.


Calcium absorption decreases as we age, so it is especially important to make sure you are getting enough. While the more common types of calcium come from dairy products, previous studies suggest that algae-derived calcium may in fact be more effective than more common types of calcium.

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