PANIC! I am a middle aged woman diagnosed with severe osteoporosis. My mother, who is in her mid-80’s, suffers from a very advanced form of the disease, where merely reaching for a dish or rolling over in bed can cause a fracture. I took Fosamax for seven years in tandem with calcium supplements, per my physician’s instructions, until medical findings revealed the drug could actually cause much more harm than good. At that point, my doctor and I agreed that I would try a year of just calcium pills and see if my baseline bone scan changed at all.
On May 23rd, a study was released in the journal HEART, stating that supplementary calcium may be bad for your heart and raise the risk of heart attacks. It showed an 86 percent increase in heart attacks among those who regularly took the supplements compared to those who didn’t take any.
New recommendations just set forth by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force state supplements of Vitamin D alone, or with calcium, may not help prevent osteoporosis caused by bone fractures.
“There isn’t evidence to suggest that 400 IU of vitamin D plus 1,000 milligrams calcium can prevent fractures among postmenopausal women who do not live in assisted living or nursing home facilities,” says Task Force member Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, MD. She is an associate professor of medicine at the University of California at San Francisco.
At this point I am not sure where to turn. None of these studies seem to address alternatives. Am I doing more harm to my body than good?