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Research Posted Online in Osteoporosis International Also Shows Long-Term Calcium and Vitamin D Supplementation Reduces Hip Fracture Risk Among Postmenopausal Women

WASHINGTON, DC (December 10, 2012) – A study funded by the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF), the nation’s leading health organization dedicated to preventing osteoporosis and broken bones, is the latest research to be released showing no statistically significant link between calcium supplementation and increased risk of heart disease. The clinical trial data also showed that postmenopausal women who complied with taking 1,000 milligrams (mg) of calcium and 400 international units (IU) of vitamin D supplements for five or more years reduced their risk for hip fracture by 38 percent.

Published online by Osteoporosis International, “Health risks and benefits from calcium and vitamin D supplementation: Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) clinical trial and cohort study” further examined the health benefits and risks of calcium and vitamin D supplementation using data from the WHI clinical trial of 36,282 postmenopausal women with emphasis on the risk of fractures, cardiovascular disease, cancer and total mortality. This reanalysis of data is reassuring in showing that supplemental calcium and vitamin D, when taken in recommended amounts, is safe without an increased risk of myocardial infarction, cardiovascular disease or cardiovascular death.

“The study is the latest underscoring the already well-documented benefits of calcium in reducing a woman’s risk for osteoporosis and broken bones,” said Robert Recker, M.D., president of the National Osteoporosis Foundation. “We know that calcium and vitamin D are critical to building, protecting and maintaining bone through all stages of life and are encouraged by this study showing no link between calcium supplementation and heart disease risk.”

With one in two women likely to break a bone due to osteoporosis in their lifetime, getting the recommended amount of calcium every day needs to be a top priority for women and men of all ages. NOF recommends that individuals meet their daily calcium needs through food sources first and take a calcium supplement only if they aren’t getting enough calcium from their diet to reach the 1,000 or 1,200 mg recommended daily total.

NOF recommends a total of 1,000 mg of calcium from all sources every day for women under age 50, while women 50 and older need a total of 1,200 mg of calcium. Men 70 and younger need a total of 1,000 mg of calcium from all sources every day, while men older than 70 need a total of 1,200 mg of calcium. Most individuals can obtain a significant portion of their daily calcium needs from calcium-rich foods like low-fat and fat-free dairy products, certain green vegetables and calcium-fortified foods.

Osteoporosis is a condition that causes bones to become weak and more likely to break. In fact, two million bone breaks occur every year in the U.S. due to osteoporosis, often resulting in immobility, pain, placement in a nursing home, isolation and other health problems.

Visit www.bonehealthandosteoporosis.org to learn more about the benefits of calcium and vitamin D.