Thursday, April 20, 2006

Calcium Supplements: Not Good Enough

You've walked past them in the grocery store. You've probably even bought them for your family, thinking you're doing a good thing.

Well, evidence published in The Cochrane Library shows that calcium supplements for kids, including calcium-fortified juices and crackers, don't provide any benefit for bone health.

Now, that's not to say that kids shouldn't get calcium.

Quite the opposite.

Kids need calcium, and their needs increase significantly as they reach the pre-teen and teenage years.

What this study means is that you should look to dairy, fruits and vegetables for natural sources of calcium.

Do you have a kitchen stocked with calcium-fortified products?

What do you think? Share your comments!


At 9:33 PM, Blogger Moof said...

When my big people were little people, we never bought vitamins ... and if things were "vitamin enriched," it was incidental.

We did, however, eat plenty of fresh veggies from the garden, home made bread, varieties of cheeses, all sorts of meat (and lots and lots of home made pies!) ... no one got fat but me! ;o) (but I had to taste everything as I was making it ... *cough!*)

I've always thought that unless you have a medical problem, if you're eating a well balanced diet, you don't need all sorts of extras ...

At 9:35 AM, Blogger momof6 said...

In a bit of defense for some types of supplementation, I would like to point out that there is a big difference between synthetic vitamins and 100% natural whole food supplements (which have been proven very effective). Also, manufacturers frequently isolate certain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, etc., in order to make something appear healthy or in order to follow some hyped-up health trend. A current example is adding lycopene to "foods". Instead, supplementation should be in line with nature. I believe there is a place for whole food supplementation, and there is plenty of research to back it up. For example, the USDA did a study on 20,000 people in the US and found that not even one managed to take in even the RDA (which we know is a low estimate of the bare minimum you need to keep vitamin deficiency diseases away) of the 10 most popular vitamins and minerals. Surely in that 20,000 there were others like yourself, who are doing their best to eat a balanced diet!

At 4:52 AM, Blogger Julie said...

I think calcium intake is overemphasized. Certainly bodies, growing and otherwise, need it. But in non-Western countries, including developed ones such as Japan, where there is precious little dairy intake and a per capita calcium intake somewhat less than America's, there is actually a reduced incidence of osteoporosis and related issues.

Obviously, Japanese people, for instance, do get calcium from places other than dairy, but usually in lower amounts. Recent research seems to suggest that large intakes of animal protein (ahem...such as that found in dairy products) actually causes calcium to be leached from the bones thus contributing to low bone density and poor growth--not fixing it.

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