-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
FRIDAY, Oct. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Women who do not get enough
calcium in their diet are at greater risk for developing a hormone
condition caused by overactive parathyroid glands that leads to
weak bones and fractures, a new study found.
Increasing calcium intake could reduce women's risk for the
condition, known as primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT), Dr. Julie
Paik and colleagues at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston
reported in the Oct. 18 online edition of the
For the study, the researchers followed more than 58,000 U.S.
women aged 39 to 66 with no history of PHPT, who were involved in
the large, long-running Nurses' Health Study. The participants were
divided into five equal groups based on their dietary calcium
intake. Information on the women's calcium intake was also
collected every four years over the course of 22 years. During this
time, the investigators identified 277 cases of PHPT.
After taking age, body mass index (a measurement based on height
and weight) and ethnicity into account, the study revealed that
women with the highest calcium intake had a 44 percent lower risk
for PHPT than the women with the lowest calcium intake.
The researchers noted that women who took just 500 milligrams of
supplemental calcium daily had a 59 percent lower risk for PHPT
than women who did not take any calcium supplements.
"Increased calcium intake, including both dietary and supplemental calcium, is independently associated with a reduced risk of developing primary hyperparathyroidism in women," Paik's team concluded in the report.
Future research should examine other environmental or lifestyle
risk factors that could play a role in the development of PHPT, the
study authors pointed out in a journal news release.
In response to the findings, James Norman, chief of surgery at
the Norman Parathyroid Center in Tampa, Fla., wrote in an
accompanying editorial that the study "provides evidence to support
physicians in confidently encouraging female patients to take
PHPT affects one in 800 people during their lifetime, and is
most common among postmenopausal women aged 50 to 60 years, Paik
and colleagues noted in the news release.
While the study found an association between calcium intake and
PHPT, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.
The U.S. National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary
Supplements provides more information on
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