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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2012 Dec;97(12):4531-9. doi: 10.1210/jc.2012-1407. Epub 2012 Oct 15.

Calcium intakes and femoral and lumbar bone density of elderly U.S. men and women: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2005-2006 analysis.

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Department of Nutrition, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599-7461, USA.



This analysis was aimed at assessing the benefits of total calcium intake from diet and supplements on both femoral neck and lumbar vertebral bone mineral density (BMD) in a representative sample of older U.S. women and men.


For 1384 women and men aged 50-70 and 71+ yr, quintiles of total calcium intake were tested for their association with hip and spine BMD after adjusting for body mass index. All data in this observational study were cross-sectional.


Subjects included elderly residents statistically representative of the United States, women and men aged 50 yr and older in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2005-2006 cohort.


Calcium intakes and femoral and lumbar BMD were evaluated.


Total calcium intakes ranged from means of 400+ mg/d in quintile 1 to 2100+ in quintile 5. Little difference in hip or lumbar BMD was found in relation to total calcium consumption in women and men across five quintiles, especially for those aged 50-70, in models adjusted for body mass index only. Femoral hip BMD in men 71 and older increased slightly with high calcium intake (3.6% higher density, P = 0.0391), whereas femoral BMD in women 71 and older decreased slightly with high calcium intake (-3.2%, P = 0.0132). Lumbar BMD remained fairly consistent across all quintiles, but greater variation within each quintile was found compared with the hip.


A usual high calcium intake beyond the recommended dietary allowance of elderly women and men, most commonly achieved by calcium supplements, did not provide any benefit for hip or lumbar BMD. A dietary intake of calcium approaching or meeting the current recommendations was not related to higher BMD of the hip or lumbar spine in late life compared with lower intakes of calcium in older adults.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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