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Effects of calcium supplementation on bone density in healthy children: meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials

BMJ 2006; 333 doi: (Published 12 October 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;333:775

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Role of calcium supplementation is very limited in improving bone mineral density in all age groups

The meta-analysis on role of calcium supplementation in children by
Winzenberg et al is an important meta-analysis to answer the role of
calcium supplementation in improving bone mineral density (BMD) in
children whether such a supplementation can prevent fractures in later
life especially in postmenopausal women where osteoporosis is a
significant problem especially post various recent studies on role of
estrogen replacement therapy with negative results. There is a real need
to find out alternatives to estrogens for management of osteoporosis a
very big problem in menopausal women with high fracture rates especially
in spine and hip. Calcium is one such alternative. Unfortunately
Winzenberg's results are contrary. The calcium supplementation does not
improve BMD in children especially in vertebral column and hip which
really matter as these are the sites of fractures in later life. Moreover
with prolonged calcium supplementation there is danger of hypercalcaemia
with all its consequences. Hence calcium supplementation in children
should be used with caution. However, in areas of calcium deficiency
especially in developing countries like India, calcium should be given
more liberally for its immediate actions.

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

13 October 2006
Jai B Sharma MD MRCOG
Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Sameer Chadha , Medical Student , MAM College New Delhi, Shikha Mehta, Medical student, MAM College, New Delhi
All India Institute of Medical Sciences , New Delhi