One of the major health problems that comes with aging is a weakening of bones. This is called osteoporosis, a condition with increasing likelihood the older you get. It's also one that many older adults aren't aware they suffer from until the inevitable occurs: the breaking of a bone. Many doctors recommend calcium supplements to guard against this.
Aside from treating osteoporosis by strengthening bones, calcium is also used to reduce the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) in younger women; increase the bone density of developing fetuses; and lower thyroid hormone levels in individuals who haveexperienced kidney failure. Its primary benefit for aging adults, however, is evidenced by calcium's ability to reduce bone loss that occurs naturally, as well as bone loss that's exacerbated by the regular use of corticosteroids. It's also thought that calcium supplements can be effective in treating other ailments like
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Lowering body fat
- Stroke prevention in women
- Tooth loss in the elderly
- Cutting the risk of developing colorectal cancer
Calcium supplementation of more than 800 mg/day is associated with an increased prevalence of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), especially in older individuals, according to a cross-sectional study of National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data.
The link was found only in people 68 and older as the researchers evaluated 3,191 people ages 40 and older who participated in the National Health survey. The group included 248 people who were diagnosed with AMD. Each participant was asked about using dietary supplements and antacids.
The research doesn’t prove cause and effect but is highly linked. The researchers say their results held true after they accounted for things like: age, sex, ethnicity, smoking, alcohol, obesity, cataract surgery, glaucoma, high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease.
One limitation of the study is that it’s possible some of the participants didn’t accurately report their usage of calcium supplements. With further research, the JAMA ophthalmology group should come up with more convincing report.
There was no clear dose-response relationship between lower daily levels of calcium intake and AMD risk but prevention they say; is better than cure.