In women, calcium supplements offer the greatest protection against forearm fractures early in menopause, and the best protection against broken hips later in life, new research suggests. The findings were presented at the 29th annual meeting of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research at Honolulu by principal researcher Dr Risto J. Honkanen of the University of Finland in Kuopio.
Known as the OSTPRE study, the group consisted of 9,403 women born between 1932 and 1941 and followed by researchers since 1989. From 1989 through 1994, a total of 777 fractures associated with the age-related, bone-thinning disease, osteoporosis, were recorded. Of the 835 fractures recorded between 1999 and 2004, there were 322 forearm fractures and 28 hip fractures. The researchers used the amount of dairy products in the diet as a measure of calcium intake. The average calcium intake between 1989 and 1994 was 827 milligrams per day and remained essentially the same through 1999 at 848 milligrams per day. “Calcium intake did not predict fractures in general in 1989-94 or in 1999-2004,” the investigators reported. However, they found that higher calcium levels protected against forearm fractures between 1989 and 1994, but not between 1999 and 2004. The bottom line, Honkanen said, is to maintain a high calcium intake throughout life. REUTERS