author: Martin AD, Houston CS.
publication: CMAJ. 1987 Mar 15;136(6):587-93.
Sales of calcium supplements have increased dramatically since 1983, as middle-aged women seek to prevent or treat bone loss due to osteoporosis. However, epidemiologic studies have failed to support the hypothesis that larger amounts of calcium are associated with increased bone density or a decreased incidence of fractures. The authors examine the evidence from controlled trials on the effects of calcium supplementation and physical activity on bone loss and find that weight-bearing activity, if undertaken early in life and on a regular basis, can increase the peak bone mass of early adulthood, delay the onset of bone loss and reduce the rate of loss. All of these factors will delay the onset of fractures. Carefully planned and supervised physical activity programs can also provide a safe, effective therapy for people who have osteoporosis.