Life Extension Update Exclusive
Calcium supplements don’t work if you don’t take them
In what appears to be a no-brainer revelation, a report published in the April 24, 2006 issue of the AMA journal Archives of Internal Medicine concluded that calcium supplements are an effective way to help prevent bone fractures only in women who take them regularly. The finding supports the conclusions of an earlier widely publicized trial covered in the February 18, 2006 issue of Life Extension Update which found that although the benefit in hip fracture risk reduction was small for total participants who received calcium and vitamin D compared to those who received a placebo, there was more than twice the benefit among women with an adherence to the supplement regimen of at least 80 percent. Nevertheless, news media in many instances pounced on the study with headlines proclaiming that calcium and vitamin D supplements were ineffective.
The current five year, double-blind trial, conducted by Richard L. Prince, MD, of the University of Western Australia and his colleagues, enrolled 1,460 women over the age of seventy, and assigned half to receive 600 milligrams calcium carbonate twice daily, while the remaining half received a placebo for five years. Participants underwent x-ray and ultrasonographic tests of bone density prior to initiating therapy and at the end of the study. Adverse events and fractures were recorded every four months. At the end of each year, the subjects returned unused tablets so that compliance could be evaluated, with those who took less than 80 percent classified as noncompliant.
At the study’s conclusion, 16.2 percent of the women had experienced one or more osteoporotic fractures. Women assigned to receive calcium were found to have the same fracture risk as those who received the placebo. Yet when the 830 women who were classified as compliant were analyzed, those in the calcium group had a 34 percent lower rate of fracture, and better ultrasonography and x-ray findings than those who did not receive the mineral. Although more women in the calcium group reported constipation, there was no difference between groups in the percentage of women who stopped taking their pills for this reason.
The authors conclude that "the calcium supplementation regimen tested currently cannot be recommended as a public health approach to fracture prevention because of the lack of long-term compliance . . . However, these data supported the continued use of calcium supplements by women who are able to remain compliant with their use. In these individuals, especially if they are under the care of a clinician, calcium supplementation is a safe and effective therapy for reducing the risk of osteoporitic fracture."
Calcium is the mineral that automatically comes to mind when considering osteoporosis treatment. However, although bone contains large amounts of calcium, other minerals need to be considered as important in the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis. For example, other trace minerals (minerals needed in small amounts for specific tasks--usually enzyme activation) would include zinc, magnesium, boron, and silicon.
Because other trace minerals have been implicated in osteoporosis, the following regimes are recommended for mineral supplementation:
- Obtain as much calcium and magnesium and other trace minerals from your diet as possible by drinking milk (if tolerated) and eating dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli, nuts, and seeds; eliminate or reduce the use of colas and other soft drinks in order to decrease phosphorus intake. Postmenopausal women should probably supplement with calcium/magnesium capsules. Daily intakes should reach at least 1000 mg of calcium and 300-500 mg of elemental magnesium, along with sufficient trace minerals including boron, and copper.
- For bone mineral maintenance and replacement, the Life Extension Foundation recommends that women take at least 1000 mg of elemental calcium along with 300-500 mg of elemental magnesium every day. The addition of between 400-1000 IU of vitamin D3 is mandatory to ensure optimal calcium absorption. The inability to absorb calcium is a major reason that calcium therapy fails to prevent or slow the progression of osteoporosis. Vitamin D3 taken with calcium will normally promote absorption and assimilation of calcium into the bone matrix. Vitamin D3 has also been shown to promote the production of IGF-I and other growth factors in osteoporotic patients, which improves osteoblast (bone-building) function. Other minerals that are important for healthy bone metabolism include boron, zinc, manganese and silicon.
- There are dietary supplements designed to prevent and treat osteoporosis. A product called Bone Restore provides the better-documented nutrients for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis.
In order to overcome the impediments that preclude aging women from achieving optimal calcium status, a mineral formula has been designed that provides 1200 elemental milligrams from three different forms of calcium per daily dose, along with critically important nutrients needed to promote healthy bones. Bone Restore™ provides calcium along with nutrients like boron and silicon to further boost the body’s ability to maintain healthy bone density.
Boron has been identified as one of the most important nutrients to help maintain bone health. As such, Life Extension has incorporated a powerful form of boron, called FruiteX-B OsteoBoron™, which is more bioavailable than boron citrate, the
Super K with K2
Vitamin K is found in green leafy vegetables as well as fermented foods. Vitamin K 1, found naturally is called phylloquinone, and vitamin K2, found naturally is called menaquinone 7, which can be synthesized by bacteria in the gut and absorbed in the intestines. Man-made forms of K1 and K2 are phytoandione and menatetranone (menaquinone 4) respectively. Vitamin K seems to play a unique role in maintaining arterial health and promoting healthy bones.
Order your blood tests during Life Extension’s annual Blood Test Sale and save!
For over 25 years, Life Extension has advised its members to have annual blood tests to identify disease risk factors that can be reversed before serious illness develops.
The Male or Female Panel provides the most important blood tests that can identify risk factors before overt disease manifests. At a commercial laboratory, the price of the tests that make up the Male Panel is $1,164. During our annual Blood Test Super Sale, members can obtain these same tests for only $224…a savings of over 80%! To order these tests at Super Sale prices, just call 1-800-208-3444, or browse our complete range of blood tests.