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#GBites: Considerations for Bone Health: Do Calcium Supplements Live Up To The Hype?

by Dan Goldstein and Natalie Gentile, MD

Following up on our last article on dietary supplements, we wanted to take this week to hone in on one of the most commonly taken supplements—calcium. Typically encouraged for prevention of osteoporosis or osteopenia and for individuals who may lack calcium in their diet, one in five Americans took a calcium supplement in 2019, according to one survey.1

Calcium is a mineral and an essential nutrient implicated in bone density, muscular contraction and nervous function. It is primarily stored in bones and teeth, giving them their rigidity. 

While dietary calcium supplements would appear to be the quickest and most convenient solution for osteoporosis, they are not the most effective treatment. Before we look into the efficacy of calcium supplements, let us peer into the condition that osteoporosis is and why it comes about.

Of note, this GBites is referring to primary prevention of bone disease, not treatment of known osteopenia or osteoporosis.

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