Bone FractureCalciumElderly

Calcium lowers the risk of fractures

Taking a specific dose of calcium in the absence of a specific dose of vitamin D reduced the risk of fractures in healthy individuals, according to researchers at Dartmouth Medical School in Lebanon, New Hampshire.

First, the details.

  • 930 healthy adults younger than 80 years old (average age, 61 years) and a recent diagnosis of colorectal adenoma (non cancer tumor) were studied.
  • They were randomly assigned to 4 years of treatment with 3 grams of calcium carbonate (1200 mg elemental Ca) daily or placebo.
  • They were followed for about 11 years.
  • The primary outcomes were all fractures and minimal trauma fractures (caused by a fall from standing height or lower while sitting, standing, or walking).

And, the results.

  • There were 46 fractures (15 from minimal trauma) in 464 participants in the calcium group vs 54 (29 from minimal trauma) in 466 participants in the placebo group.
  • The risk of fracture differed significantly between groups during the treatment phase.
  • Minimal trauma fractures were also less frequent in the calcium group during treatment.
  • But the risk of fracture did not differ during the post-treatment follow-up.

The bottom line?
The results support adults taking the carbonate form of calcium. And it didn’t require taking vitamin D, although they had “close to adequate” vitamin D levels.

But stop taking it, and the benefits cease.

6/17/08 20:28 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.