Studies indicate calcium citrate can stop bone loss

provided by American Society for Bone and Mineral Research and the International Bone and Mineral Society

wo new studies published in the November issue of The American Journal of Therapeutics provide additional scientific evidence that calcium citrate may be the optimal form of calcium supplementation. The studies suggest consumers might benefit more by taking a calcium citrate supplement such as Citracal®, as opposed to common calcium carbonate supplements.

Researchers at the Center for Mineral Metabolism and Clinical Research, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas conducted a "Meta-Analysis of Calcium Bioavailability: A Comparison of Calcium Citrate with Calcium Carbonate" (Sakhaee et. al., 1999), which evaluated 15 studies on the bioavailability of two of the most common forms of calcium supplements, calcium citrate and calcium carbonate. All but one study showed significantly greater absorption of calcium from calcium citrate than calcium carbonate by an average of 22%-27%, regardless of whether the candidate had eaten a meal or not.

"In the case of calcium supplements, bioavailability refers to the amount of calcium a person actually absorbs from a supplement, rather than the amount of elemental calcium the supplement contains before it is taken," explains lead author Khashayar Sakhaee, MD, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. "Although calcium carbonate contains more elemental calcium than calcium citrate, it is not as readily available to the body overall. The meta-analysis confirms our hypothesis that calcium citrate provides superior bio-availability of calcium."

In another study published in the journal, "The Effect of Calcium Citrate on Bone Density in the Early and Mid-Postmenopausal Period: A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Study" (Ruml et. al., 1999), the findings indicate that bone loss in early and mid-postmenopausal women can be halted by supplementing the diet with calcium citrate.

Mission Pharmacal of San Antonio, Texas provided the calcium preparations and placebo for the study. In the two-year study, 63 early postmenopausal women were given 400 mg of Citracal Calcium Citrate Ultra-dense twice a day in order to gauge the effect of calcium supplements on the early stages of osteoporosis. Those in the placebo group took tablets of identical appearance. Bone density was tested at three sites most commonly affected by osteoporosis: the vertebrae in the lower back (spine), the radial shaft (wrist) and the femoral neck (hip). Supplementation with Citracal was shown to have a protective effect on existing bone mass. Calcium citrate preserved existing bone mass in two of the three sites, and was shown to slow the further resorption of bone.

Lead author, Lisa Ruml, MD, noted, "This study clearly documents the importance of calcium in helping to prevent bone loss in postmenopausal women. Furthermore, it supports the recommendation that adequate calcium intake is needed throughout life, but especially in postmenopausal years when women are most vulnerable to manifestation of bone loss. Since most people do not get enough calcium through their daily diet, it would benefit them to take a calcium supplement like Citracal (calcium citrate) as part of their regimen."

According to Dr. Ruml, the fact that calcium citrate is absorbed so readily by the body may account for its success as a proven aid in the fight against bone loss. She also noted that calcium citrate can be taken with or without food, a benefit for those with low stomach acid.

Bones typically reach their peak density by age 30, thereafter, there is a loss of bone mass at a rate of 1% of annually. Bone loss occurs most rapidly in the first five years of menopause. While earlier studies of late postmenopausal women showed that calcium prevented bone loss, studies in early postmenopausal women have yielded conflicting results. "We were surprised to find that calcium citrate did indeed stabilize bone mass in women during this critical time," reports Dr. Ruml.

Adequate calcium intake and moderate weight-bearing exercise are the first line of defense against osteoporosis. Healthcare professionals suggest women incorporate calcium-rich dairy products, cruciferous vegetables, and dark, leafy vegetables in their diet in addition to a calcium citrate supplement. Women should also talk with their doctors about an exercise regimen adapted for their age and fitness level.

Based in San Antonio, Texas, Mission Pharmacal, a leader in innovative pharmaceutical products since 1946, has been dedicated to identifying unmet health needs in the marketplace and developing innovative prescription and over-the-counter products to meet them for more than 50 years.

Contact: Dina Pitenis, The Rowland Company (212) 527-8815, or Bill Glitz (703) 532-3797.