Osteoporosis International

, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 23–28

A 4-year follow-up study of the effects of calcium supplementation on bone density in elderly postmenopausal women

  • A. Devine
  • I. M. Dick
  • S. J. Heal
  • R. A. Criddle
  • R. L. Prince
Original Article

Abstract

To determine the long-term effect of calcium supplementation on bone density, 84 elderly women (54–74 years) more than 10 years past the menopause were studied for 4 years as part of a follow-up study of a randomized, double-masked, placebo-controlled trial. The placebo group who did not take calcium supplements at all during the 4-year study (control group,n=21) served as a comparison with the treated group who took calcium supplements for 4 years (calcium supplement group,n=14). We also studied subjects who were treated for 2 years with calcium supplements and then ceased taking them (non-compliant group,n=49). The changes in bone density at the lumbar spine, hip and ankle sites, current calcium intake and activity were monitored. Over the 4 years the calcium supplement group (mean calcium intake 1988±90 mg/day) did not lose bone at the hip and ankle site. The control group (mean calcium intake 952±109 mg/day) lost significantly more bone than the calcium supplement group at all sites of the hip and ankle. No overall bone loss was seen at the spine, in either group, over the 4 years of this study. Between years 2 and 4 the non-compliant group (mean calcium intake 981±75 mg/day) lost significantly more bone at all sites of the ankle than the calcium supplement group. Therefore, calcium supplementation produces a sustained reduction in the rate of loss of bone density at the ankle and hip sites in elderly postmenopausal women. Increasing dietary calcium intake in women should be the aim of a public health campaign.

Keywords

Bone density Bone loss Calcium Longitudinal study 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. 1.
    Prince RL, Smith M, Dick IM, et al. Prevention of postmenopausal osteoporosis: a comparative study of exercise, calcium supplementation, and hormone-replacement therapy. N Engl J Med 1991;325:1189–95.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Lau E, Donnan S, Barker DJP, Cooper C. Physical activity and calcium intake in fracture of the proximal femur in Hong Kong. BMJ 1988;297:1441–3.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Elders PJM, Netelenbos JC, Lips P, et al. Calcium supplementation reduces vertebral bone loss in perimenopausal women: a controlled trial in 248 women between 46 and 55 years of age. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1991;73:533–40.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Smith EL, Gilligan C, Smith PE, Sempos CT. Calcium supplementation and bone loss in middle-aged women. Am J Clin Nutr 1989;50:833–42.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Reid IR, Ames RW, Evans MC, Gamble GD, Sharpe SJ. Effect of calcium supplementation on bone loss in postmenopausal women. N Engl J Med 1993;328:460–4.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Prince R, Devine A, Dick I, et al. The effects of calcium supplementation (milk powder or tablets) and exercise on bone density in postmenopausal women. J Bone Miner Res 1995;10:1068–75.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Nelson ME, Fisher EC, Dilmanian FA, Dallal GE, Evans WJ. A 1-y walking program and increased dietary calcium in postmenopausal women: effects on bone. Am J Clin Nutr 1991;53:1304–11.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Strause L, Saltman P, Smith KT, Bracker M. Andon MB. Spinal bone loss in postmenopausal women supplemented with calcium and trace minerals. J Nutr 1994;124:1060–4.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Dawson-Hughes B, Dallal GE, Krall EA, Sadowski L, Sahyoun N, Tannenbaum S. A controlled trial of the effect of calcium supplementation on bone density in postmenopausal women. N Engl J Med 1990;323:878–83.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Reid IR, Ames RW, Evans MC, Gamble GD, Sharpe SJ. Long-term effects of calcium supplementation on bone loss and fractures in postmenopausal women: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Med 1995;98:331–5.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Devine A, Prince RL, Kerr DA, et al. Determinants of intestinal calcium absorption in women ten years past the menopause. Calcif Tissue Int 1993;52:358–60.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Prince RL, Dick IM. Devine A, et al. The effects of menopause and age on calcitropic hormones: a cross-sectional study of 655 healthy women aged 35 to 90. J Bone Miner Res 1995;10:835–42.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Recker RR, Kimmel DB, Hinders S, Davies KM. Anti-fracture efficacy of calcium in elderly women. J Bone Miner Res 1994;9(Suppl 1): 154.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Chevalley T, Rizzoli R, Nydegger V, et al. Effects of calcium supplements on femoral bone mineral density and vertebral fracture rate in vitamin-D-replete elderly patients. Osteoporosis Int 1994;4:245–52.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Chapuy MC, Arlot ME, Delmas PD, Meunier PJ. Effect of calcium and cholecalciferol treatment for three years on hip fractures in elderly women. BMJ 1994;308:1081–2.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Slattery ML, Sorenson AW, Ford MH. Dietary calcium intake as a mitigating factor in colon cancer. Am J Epidemiol 1988;128:504–14.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Wargovich MJ, Lynch PM, Levin B. Modulating effects of calcium in animal models of colon carcinogenesis and short-term studies in subjects at increased risk for colon cancer. Am J Clin Nutr 1991;54(Suppl 1): 202–5.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Witteman JCM, Willett WC, Stampfer MJ, et al. A prospective study of nutritional factors and hypertension among US women. Circulation 1989;80:1320–7.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    McCarron DA, Morris CD, Young E, Roullet C, Drüeke T. Dietary calcium and blood pressure: modifying factors in specific populations. Am J Clin Nutr 1991;54(Suppl 1):215–9.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© European Foundation for Osteoporosis and the National Osteoporosis Foundation 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Devine
    • 3
  • I. M. Dick
    • 3
  • S. J. Heal
    • 3
  • R. A. Criddle
    • 3
    • 1
  • R. L. Prince
    • 3
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Geriatric MedicineSir Charles Gairdner HospitalNedlands
  2. 2.Department of EndocrinologySir Charles Gairdner HospitalNedlands
  3. 3.University Department of MedicineSir Charles Gairdner HospitalNedlands

Personalised recommendations