pp 1-22 | Cite as

Calcium and Bone

  • Ian R. ReidEmail author
  • Sarah M. Bristow
Part of the Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology book series


The maintenance of extracellular calcium levels within a narrow range is necessary for normal function of the nervous system, muscle, and coagulation, to maintain mineralization of the skeleton but to avoid calcification of soft tissues. Accordingly, absorption and excretion of calcium is closely regulated, and adult humans can adapt to a wide range of calcium intakes from 300 to 2,000 mg/day. The evidence that low calcium intakes contribute to osteoporosis development is weak, as is evidence that increasing these intakes significantly changes fracture risk. Consistent with this view, the United States Preventive Services Task Force does not support the use of calcium supplements in healthy community-dwelling adults. While some groups continue to recommend that supplements of calcium and vitamin D are given with drug treatments for osteoporosis, this view is not supported by clinical trials which demonstrate anti-fracture efficacy of estrogens and bisphosphonates in the absence of such supplementation. Thus, calcium supplements have only a minor place in contemporary medical practice.


Bone Bone density Calcium Calcium balance Fracture Osteoporosis Vitamin D 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medical and Health SciencesUniversity of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand
  2. 2.Auckland District Health BoardAucklandNew Zealand

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