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Thursday, February 16, 2006

Extra calcium for women takes some clinical knocks

A large, seven-year study of healthy women over the age of 50 found no broad benefit from calcium and vitamin D supplements in preventing broken bones, despite widespread endorsement by doctors for the supplements.

The study, whose results were being reported Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine, also found no evidence that the supplements prevented colorectal cancer, and it found an increased risk of kidney stones.

The study's leaders said there were hints of benefits for some subgroups in the study. But the supplements' only positive effect in the overall study population - 36,282 normal, healthy women ages 50 to 79 - was a 1 percent increase in bone density at the hip.



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