Calcium supplements can preserve and even build bones in the large share of the population that steadfastly consumes diets deficient in the mineral. Yet two new federal analyses indicate that the gains can quickly disappear when people stop taking extra calcium.
Building strong bones in childhood and maintaining them through adulthood offer the best protection against osteoporosis and debilitating fractures in old age, explains endocrinologist Bess Dawson-Hughes of the Agriculture Department's Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston.
Data from children and the elderly, however, show a consistent and disconcerting picture, she noted this week in San Diego at the Experimental Biology 2000 meeting, where she chaired a symposium on calcium supplementation.
Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.