Calcium Isn't The Bone Health Cure-All You Thought It Was

Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Sweet lady Science is about to burst a creamy, lactose-ridden bubble for a lot of people. New research from The BMJ suggests that the daily recommended amount of calcium (1,000 to 1,200 grams, or about four cups of milk) doesn't make that much of an impact on a person's bone health.

Related: Ask The Diet Doctor: The Bottom Line On Calcium Supplements

In fact, the study found that, when people actually get that 1,000 to 1,200-mg chunk of daily calcium, their quality of bone health only improves by an average of 1-2%. How could this be such a marginal increase, when we've been told all along — by some of the most important people in our lives — that calcium is just about single-handedly responsible for strong bones and teeth?

Related: 20 Healthy Foods That Give You Every Nutrient You Need

In its report on this finding, Shape explains that the hype around calcium might have been the result of several flawed studies over the years. Most frequently, it seems, research has been conducted using only participants who were already known to have weaker-than-normal bones. It's only natural that there would be a more noticeable improvement, thanks to calcium, in those with a preexisting deficiency.

That said, calcium in moderation isn't a bad thing. Just don't forget about other nutrients, especially vitamin D, that are important for your bones.
Click through to Shape to learn more about calcium's impact on your health. (Shape)

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