Objective: Evaluate the role of calcium on bone health.
Methods: Review of literatures on calcium and bone development during childhood and bone health in adulthood and older age.
Results: Calcium intake influences skeletal calcium retention during growth and thus affects peak bone mass achieved in early adulthood. Increased calcium intake is associated with increased bone mineral accretion rate up to a threshold level in all ethnic groups. The minimum intake to achieve maximal retention is 1140 mg/day for white boys and 1300 mg/day for white girls. Calcium also plays a role in preventing bone loss and osteoporotic fractures in later life. Meta-analyses report that calcium supplementation reduce bone loss by 0.5-1.2% and the risk of fracture of all types by at least 10% in older people. Low calcium intake is a widespread problem across countries and age groups.
Conclusion: Adequate calcium intake throughout lifetime is important for bone health and the prevention of osteoporosis and related fractures.
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