Calcium fortified food may not produce stronger bones
Apr 20, 2006, 15:53

Calcium fortified foods may not help build stronger bones in children, says a new study.

Calcium is a mineral important to maintaining bone health. Calcium-rich foods include milk, cheese, yoghurt, greens, broccoli, sardines, beans and peas. The mineral is added to many breakfast cereals, snack bars and drinks as manufacturers try to woo the parental market.

But scientists have found that such products do not produce significantly stronger bones, nor do they reduce the chance of a child suffering fractures, reports the online edition of Daily Mail.

Researchers led by Professor Frank R. Greer of the University of Wisconsin analysed 19 studies where children aged between three and 19 years were given extra calcium in their diet in this way,

They then calculated the impact by measuring their bone mineral density and mineral content.

The team found few significant increases in bone mass and none in the two bones most vulnerable to fracture - the lower spine and upper part of the thigh.

A small impact was noted in bone density of the arm, but it cut the risk of fracture by just 0.2 percent, according to the report published in the Cochrane Library.

Calcium artificially added to food passes through the body too quickly to be properly absorbed and therefore fails to perform the same functions as foods which are naturally rich in calcium, such as milk, cheese and leafy green vegetables, they said.

The findings for children echo those seen in adult studies. "You can get some short-term improvements but as soon as you stop the supplements it goes right back to where it was," Greer said.

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