According to a new meta analysis, researchers at the School of Public Health and Management, Wenzhou Medical University, China have found that taking calcium supplementation under the age of 35 improves bone mass and strengthens bones. The findings have paved a way to provide better insights and evidence related to the benefits of calcium supplementation and proves that people should take care of their bone health at a younger age.
Lead author Yupeng Liu, researcher at the School of Public Health and Management, Wenzhou Medical University, China, said, “Osteoporosis and fractures are important global public health problems, particularly in elderly women. However, although calcium supplementation has been widely used in older age to increase bone mass, a number of studies suggest that it is unlikely to translate into clinically meaningful reductions in fractures.
On the other hand, intervention before young adults reach peak bone density might have a greater impact on bone health and prevent osteoporosis later. There has been considerable debate about whether calcium supplementation has effects on bone health among young people, so we conducted a comprehensive review of the evidence for calcium supplement effectiveness in people under the age of 35.”
The researchers looked for random controlled trials, that are usually considered as the golden standard for clinical research. They compared calcium or calcium and vitamin D using a placebo or no treatment in individuals under the 35 years of age. Particularly, they observed the results of bone mineral density (BMD) or bone mineral content (BMC). The meta analysis included 43 studies of over 7,300 participants, out of which 20 were about dietary calcium and 23 focused on calcium supplementation. Then, they pooled the data to note the changes in BMD and BMC in the lumbar spine, femoral neck, total hip and whole body.
The most important finding was that calcium supplements in individuals under the age of 35 can improve the BMD levels of both whole body and femoral neck, and even increase the BMC of femoral neck, total body and lumbar. The observation was mostly seen in people between the age group of 20-35 years. The authors found that calcium supplementation can majorly enhance bone mineral density, specifically in the neck, and that giving supplements to people in the peri–peak bone mass age can leave a better impact than treating earlier or later on.
Senior author Shuran Wang, Professor at Wenzhou Medical University, said, “Although further trials will be needed to verify these findings, our review provides a new train of thought regarding calcium supplementation and the optimal timing of its effects. In terms of bone health and an individual’s full life cycle, the intervention window of calcium supplementation should be advanced to the age around the plateau of peak bone mass – namely at 20–35 years of age.”