About Me

My photo
Blog author, Solai Buchanan is an experienced Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator with an MS from Columbia Teachers College. She specializes in treating heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, polycystic ovarian syndrome,and other chronic diseases. She is a provider at a full-service cardiology practice accepting most insurance and staffed with a primary care MD, pediatrician, and cardiologist. Call: 718.894.7907. NYCC is lead by Interventional Cardiologist Sanjeev Palta, MD, FSCAI, FACC. He trained at Cornell-Columbia Presbyterian Hospital and the State University Hospital of Brooklyn. He currently is an Attending Cardiologist at New York Methodist Hospital and Maimonides Medical Center. He is also an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center. Having performed over 2000 invasive cardiac procedures Dr. Palta’s patients know they are in trusted hands.

Thursday, April 13, 2017


A recent analysis of a prospective cohort study including over 600 older adults found that a diet rich in calcium was only associated with better bone health outcomes when participants were also supplementing with vitamin D.  Dietary intake of calcium rich foods did not appear to support bone health among individuals who did not supplement with vitamin D.  Study participants were drawn from those enrolled in the long-running Framingham Study, which began in 1948 and has followed the health and habits of a cohort Framingham, Massachusetts residents over time.

Participants averaged 75 years age.  Their patterns of food intake were assessed with detailed food frequency questionnaires and their bone density assessed with bone scans. The analysis found that absolute spinal bone mineral density levels as well as the change in hip bone mineral density over four years was significantly better among those who both consumed diets rich in calcium and who supplemented with vitamin D.  In contrast, higher dietary calcium intake was not protective among those who were not supplementing in vitamin D.  These results are consistent with the fact that vitamin D stimulates calcium absorption, which aids in bone building and prevention of bone loss. 

Bone health problems are a widespread health concern.  An estimated 44 million Americans have low bone density and 10 million Americans have more severe osteoporosis, a disease marked by low bone mass and progressive deterioration of bone tissue. Osteoporosis increases the risk of fractures, loss of physical function, decreased quality of life, and even death. 

What to do:  These findings underscore that the benefits of calcium rich diet to older person’s bones may be dependent on vitamin D intake.  As we age, all individuals lose bone mass but those who lose mass more quickly as well as those who did not accumulate adequate bone mass in adolescence are at risk for osteoporosis.  While the efficacy of calcium supplements remains debated there is generally consensus that individuals' bone health benefits from diets rich in calcium.  An estimated 80% of Americans’ diets are insufficient in calcium.  Some of the foods richest in calcium include dairy such as milk, yogurt, and cheese, fish with bones such canned salmon and sardines, and dark leafy vegetable such as Chinese cabbage, kale, and broccoli.  Our bodies make vitamin D when our skin is exposed to the sun but persons who are older, obese, have darker skin, and/or get little sun exposure are at high risk for low vitamin D levels.  If your bloodwork indicates you are low in vitamin D, supplementation as well as a calcium rich diet may be integral to maintaining bone health into old age.   

Sahni S, Mangano KM, et al.  Dairy intake is protective against bone loss in older vitamin D supplement users: The Framingham Study. Journal of Nutrition.  First published online March 1, 2017. DOI:10.3945/jn.116.240390

Adapted from articles available at: