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Calcium supplementation can help prevent osteoporosis, the "brittle bone" disease that results from bone loss. Osteoporosis is most common in women, who tend to lose bone mass relatively quickly after menopause. Taking a calcium supplement of 1,000 mg a day is linked with a lower risk of bone loss in women over 40.
What seems to matter most is that you get plenty of calcium over the long haul. Supplementing during the first five years after menopause begins didn't make a big difference to bone mass in studies, but taking calcium pills after that did significantly reduce bone loss.
Men can also develop osteoporosis, and there is some evidence that calcium supplements can lower this risk in men as well.
Osteoporosis is a disorder of the skeleton in which bone strength is reduced, resulting in an increased risk of fracture. Although osteoporosis is most commonly diagnosed in white postmenopausal women, women of other racial groups and ages, men, and children may also develop osteoporosis. Calcium is the nutrient consistently found to be the most important for attaining peak bone mass and preventing osteoporosis. Adequate vitamin D intake is required for optimal calcium absorption. Adequate calcium and vitamin D are deemed essential for the prevention of osteoporosis in general, including postmenopausal osteoporosis.Although calcium and vitamin D alone are not suggested as the sole treatment of osteoporosis, they are necessary additions to pharmaceutical treatments. The vast majority of clinical trials investigating the efficacy of pharmaceutical treatments for osteoporosis have investigated these agents in combination with calcium and vitamin D. So, although calcium alone is unlikely to have an effect on the rate of bone loss following menopause, osteoporosis may not be treated in the absence of calcium. Treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis should only be done under supervision of a qualified healthcare professional.
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