, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 276-283

The effect of calcium supplementation and tanner stage on bone density, content and area in teenage women

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Abstract

One hundred and twelve Caucasian girls, 11.9±0.5 years of age at entry, were randomized into a 24-month, double-masked, placebo-controlled trial to determine the effect of calcium supplementation on bone mineral content, bone area and bone density. Supplementation was 500 mg calcium as calcium citrate malate (CCM) per day. Controls received placebo pills, and compliance of both groups averaged 72%. Bone mineral content, bone mineral area and bone mineral density of the lumbar spine and total body were measured by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). Calcium intake from dietary sources averaged 983 mg/day for the entire study group. The supplemented group received, on average, an additional 360 mg calcium/day from CCM. At baseline and after 24 months, the two groups did not differ with respect to anthropometric measurements, urinary reproductive hormone levels or any measurement of pubertal progression. The supplemented group had greater increases of total body bone measures: content 39.9% versus 35.7% (p=0.01), area 24.2% versus 22.5% (p=0.15) and density 12.2% versus 10.1% (p=0.005). Region-of-interest analyses showed that the supplemented group had greater gains compared with the control group for bone mineral density, content and area. In particular, in the lumbar spine and pelvis, the gains made by the supplemented group were 12%–24% greater than the increases made by the control group. Bone acquisition rates in the two study groups were further compared by subdividing the groups into those with below- or above-median values for Tanner score and dietary calcium intake. In subjects with below-median Tanner scores, bone acquisition was not affected by calcium supplementation or dietary calicum level. However, the calcium supplemented subjects with above-median Tanner had higher bone acqusition rates than the placebo group with above-median Tanner scores. Relative to the placebo group, the supplemented group had increased yearly gains of bone content, area and density which represented about 1.5% of adult female values. Such increases, if held to adult skeletal maturity, could provide protection against future risk of osteoporotic fractures.