Calcium Supplements Linked to Longer Lifespans in Women

Aaron Lohr
Director, Media Relations
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Jenni Glenn Gingery
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Study finds calcium-rich diet, supplements provide equal benefits

Chevy Chase, MD—Taking a calcium supplement of up to 1,000 mg per day can help women live longer, according to a recent study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM).

Calcium, an essential nutrient for bone health, is commonly found in dairy products as well as vitamins. Although calcium is an essential nutrient for bone health, past studies have linked calcium supplements to heart disease risk. Researchers analyzing data from the large-scale Canadian Multicentre Osteoporosis Study (CaMos) sought to clarify this issue and found moderate doses of calcium supplements had a beneficial effect in women.

“Our study found daily use of calcium supplements was associated with a lower risk of death among women,” said the study’s lead author, David Goltzman, MD, of McGill University in Montreal, Canada. “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.”

The longitudinal cohort study monitored the health of 9,033 Canadians between 1995 and 2007. During that period, 1,160 participants died. Although the data showed women who took calcium supplements had a lower mortality risk, there was no statistical benefit for men. The study found no conclusive evidence that vitamin D had an impact on mortality.

“Higher amounts of calcium were potentially linked to longer lifespans in women, regardless of the source of the calcium,” Goltzman said. “That is, the same benefits were seen when the calcium came from dairy foods, non-dairy foods or supplements.”

Other researchers working on the study include: L. Langsetmo, C. Berger, J. Genest and S. Morin of McGill University; N. Krieger, S. Jamal and R. Josse of the University of Toronto; C. Kovacs of Memorial University in St. John’s, Newfoundland; D. Hanley of the University of Calgary; S. Whiting of the University of Saskatchewan; A. Hodsman of St. Joseph’s Health Center in London, Ontario; J. Prior, B. Lentle and M. Patel of the University of British Columbia; J. Brown of Laval University in Quebec; T. Anastasiades and T. Towheed, of Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario; A. Papaioannou, J. Adachi of McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario; W. Leslie of the University of Manitoba; and K. Davison of the University of Victoria in British Columbia.

The article, “Calcium and Vitamin D Intake and Mortality: Results from the Canadian Multi-centre Osteoporosis Study,” will appear in the July 2013 issue of JCEM

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Founded in 1916, The Endocrine Society is the world's oldest, largest, and most active organization devoted to research on hormones and the clinical practice of endocrinology. Today, The Endocrine Society's membership consists of over 16,000 scientists, physicians, educators, nurses, and students in more than 100 countries. Together, these members represent all basic, applied, and clinical interests in endocrinology. The Endocrine Society is based in Chevy Chase, Md. To learn more about the Society, and the field of endocrinology, visit our web site at www.endocrine.org. Follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/#!/EndoMedia.