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More Calcium 'Doesn't Stop Osteoporosis'

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There's no need for people to increase their calcium dose to stave off osteoporosis in later life, new research suggests.

While moderate amounts of calcium (about 700mg a day) are essential, increasing the dose with the hope of cutting the risk of bone disease and fractures offers no extra benefit.

In the latest study, Swedish researchers analysed data for more than 60,000 women who were followed for up for 19 years.

Of those, 24 percent suffered some sort of fracture while one in five of a subset of about 5,000 women developed osteoporosis.

Researchers found that women who consumed about 750mg of calcium daily had a similar risk of fracture or osteoporosis as those who had the highest amounts (about 1135mg).

The experts, writing in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), said, 'The highest quintile of calcium intake did not further reduce the risk of fractures of any type, or of osteoporosis.'

In fact, those taking the most amounts of calcium had a slightly higher risk of hip fracture, although this needs further research.

The authors concluded that while low levels of calcium intake (less than 700mg per day) increased the risk of fractures and osteoporosis, there was no need to start increasing calcium intake above this amount.

A spokeswoman for the National Osteoporosis Society said: 'The paper adds additional weight to a strong argument - that low dietary intake of calcium increases the risk of fracture.

'We encourage those with low calcium levels to look to their diet and improve their intake of foods like dairy (low fat often contain the most calcium), leafy greens, almonds and dried apricots.

'The recommended amount for the U.K. is 700mg and most people should be able to achieve this through dietary changes.

'Boosting calcium beyond recommended levels has no extra benefit for bones.'

Dr. Carrie Ruxton, from the industry-funded Health Supplements Information Service (HSIS), said EU recommendations on calcium intake were slightly higher.

'The results of this study represent good news for those women who consume around 750mg of calcium daily, which is close to the EU recommended daily allowance (RDA) of 800mg daily for adults.

'However, a 2010 study showed that 58 per cent of adult women in the U.K. had a dietary intake of calcium which fell below 800mg a day.

'According to the findings of the current study, these women would have an increased risk of fracture and would benefit from achieving a calcium intake of approximately 700-750mg a day.

'This additional calcium could be provided by a multivitamin and mineral or calcium supplement.'

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