Thursday, February 16, 2006


Told Ya' So: Major Study Finds No Benefits From Calcium Supplments

I've said it for years, and the $18 million Women's Health Initiative has verified my hunch: women who take calcium supplements (long recommended for prevention of everything from osteoporosis to colorectal cancer) had no benefit when compared to a group of women who didn't take calcium supplements.

That's right: it's OK to quit chomping on oyster shell calcium and popping soft-chew calcium and guzzling calcium-added everything.

Of the 36,282 women ages 50-79 who are involved in the long-term study of women's health, the ONLY noticeable benefit of calcium supplementation was a whopping (ahem) 1% increase in bone density at the hip. Basically, the study found that calcium does NOT prevent broken bones, osteoporosis or colorectal cancer. The women in the study were divided into three groups: one group took 1000 mg of calcium a day, another group took 400 mg of calcium a day, and a third group took placebos (inert pills). They were followed for seven years.

Why do I say "told you so?" As a connective tissue specialist, it's long been my contention that too much calcium in the bloodstream actually calcifies muscle tissue, making it stiffer and less elastic. The dolomite in much of the commercially available calcium is, after all, a MINERAL. And minerals are hard (ask anyone who grew up on a farm and drank well water). In addition, it's my contention excess calcium can settle in the joints as girty deposits that can decrease range of motion, increase pain and feel like gritty sandpapery-like surfaces that are otherwise supposed to be smooth and fluid.

Now, if the medical community would listen to my advice about the dangers of soaking flat on your back in hot, steamy bathtubs and Jacuzzis....

Anyone care to listen to that theory? It's a good one....

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