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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2004 Oct;89(10):4916-22.

The effect of calcium supplementation on bone density in premenarcheal females: a co-twin approach.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville, Victoria 3050, Australia.


The age and developmental stage at which calcium supplementation produces the greatest bone effects remain controversial. We tested the hypothesis that calcium supplementation may improve bone accrual in premenarcheal females. Fifty-one pairs of premenarcheal female twins (27 monozygotic and 24 dizygotic; mean +/- sd age, 10.3 +/- 1.5 yr) participated in a randomized, single-blind, placebo-controlled trial with one twin of each pair receiving a 1200-mg calcium carbonate (Caltrate) supplement. Areal bone mineral density (aBMD) was measured at baseline and 6, 12, 18 and 24 months. There were no within-pair differences in height, weight, or calcium intake at baseline. Calcium supplementation was associated (P < 0.05) with increased aBMD compared with placebo, adjusted for age, height, and weight at the following time points from baseline: total hip, 6 months (1.9%), 12 months (1.6%), and 18 months (2.4%); lumbar spine, 12 months (1.0%); femoral neck, 6 months (1.9%). Adjusted total body bone mineral content was higher in the calcium group at 6 months (2.0%), 12 months (2.5%), 18 months (4.6%), and 24 months (3.7%), respectively (all P < 0.001). Calcium supplementation was effective in increasing aBMD at regional sites over the first 12-18 months, but these gains were not maintained to 24 months.

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