I have to say I have never really been a big fan of calcium supplementation. Maybe if someone if far along the scale into osteoporosis, but almost never before this. But this obviously flies in the face of standard recommendations for bone health. Why?
For two reasons. First, one of the functions of Vitamin D is to help the body absorb more calcium from the gut and our diet. So, low calcium forces our body to active Vitamin D to its more potent form to suck up more calcium. This will not only ensure we get the calcium we need, but will activate Vitamin D and allow us to get the best protection from this hormone. But this means most of us need to supplement extra Vitamin D, which I DO recommend to almost everyone. Usually starting around 2,000 iu / day and moving up from there.
Next reason. We should be getting all the calcium we need from our diets. This does NOT mean dairy, which is not the wonderful health food that the advertising of the dairy industry has led us to believe. I mean really–name another mammal that contiues to drink milk after it is weaned? And why cow’s milk? Why not goat? Donkey milk? At what point did someone look at a calf nursing and say..”Hey! That looks like it might be a good idea!”?
So, having strong Vitamin D levels coupled with a good quality diet with multiple broad sources of calcium (tofu, tahini, figs, soybeans, broccoli, kale, nuts, etc..) is the best way to go. Funny–when you look up good sources of calcium on the net, the answers are loaded with dairy-related answers, and yet cows don’t drink milk…
This particular study finds that calcium supplementation, consistent with the above discussion, does not reduce fracture risk on top of a good quality diet unless someone had low calcium intake in the first place. Which, of course, would not be happening in the aforementioned diet.