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More Evidence: Calcium Helps Women’s Bones

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A new study provides some of the strongest evidence yet that extra calcium keeps women’s bones strong after menopause. The study should ease doubts of the benefits of calcium supplements, experts say.

The study, conducted in New Zealand, found older women who took 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day in addition to what they were getting in their food reduced their bone loss by one-third to one-half.

Women typically lose bone density after menopause, increasing their risk of fractures.

There has been a growing belief for several years that taking extra calcium slows this bone loss. But skeptics remain, in part because some studies fail to show a benefit.

However, an editorial published with the latest study in today’s New England Journal of Medicine that the time has come to recommend calcium for all older women.

He said women should take at least 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day and preferably 1,500 milligrams, and they should take 400 to 800 international units of vitamin D.

Good sources of calcium include dairy products, bony fish such as sardines and broccoli and other dark green vegetables.

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