According to older research, calcium supplements may be able to help prevent bone loss in postmenopausal women, may help with fat loss, may help lower risk of colon cancer, and may help improve metabolic markers. As for vitamin D, it is recognized for its ability to combat fatigue, depression, and it may also fight certain disease.
However, a new research study suggests that calcium supplements may not actually provide those who take them with the health benefits that they expect. The study, co-authored by Mark Bolland of Auckland University’s medical and health services faculty and Ian Reid, was published in the Medical Journal of Australia.
The study reviewed evidence of the safety and efficacy of vitamin D supplements and concluded that although the vitamin may be able to prevent osteomalacia in those who have specific risk factors, it has “very little place” in modern medicine. Reid and Bolland wrote that use of calcium supplements by those without a specific bone density “does not have a sound evidence base.”
In they study, they also noted that calcium supplements are frequently associated with a number of gastrointestinal issues, such as constipation and abdominal pain. In one study reviewed by Ian and Bolland, they found that calcium and vitamin D enhance the risk of kidney stones by 17% and that calcium supplements enhance the risk of myocardial infarction and possibly stroke. They also noted, though, that such a position is subject to controversy.
This is not the first of Bolland and Reid’s studies on calcium. In 2013, they authored a study with Andrew Grey titled Calcium Supplements and Cardiovascular Risk: 5 Years On. The study ultimately determined that though there is “little evidence” to suggest that intake of dietary calcium is associated with cardiovascular risk, there is also little evidence indicating that it is linked to fracture risk.