Long-term Calcium Supplementation Does not Affect the Iron Status of 12-14 year-old Girls

In Bone and Joint, News, Research Articles, Uncategorized by Justin Welton

Nutrient requirements for iron and calcium are higher in adolescent girls around the time of menarche. Calcium supplementation can compromise long-term iron status, but few data are available for adolescent girls. The aim of this randomized, double- blind, placebo controlled study was to evaluate whether calcium supplementation affected iron status in 113 Dutch girls aged 12-14 years. Subjects took 500 mg calcium (as calcium carbonate) a day or a placebo with the main daily meal for 1 year. Measures of iron status (concentrations of hemoglobin, serum ferritin, and serum transferrin receptors) were collected at baseline and one year along with dietary calcium intake through a food frequency questionnaire.

The mean hemoglobin level at baseline was 134 grams/liter. Two groups were selected according to their dietary calcium intake: a medium intake group (1,000-1,304 mg/day; n=60) and a low intake group (<713 mg/day; n=53). Calcium supplementation had no effect on iron status in either group. This study shows that calcium supplementation does not alter iron status in iron-sufficient adolescent girls. Additional research is necessary to understand the effect of long-term calcium supplementation on iron status in iron- deficient adolescents.

Funding: Danish government Food and Technology Research Program and Danish Dairy Research Foundation.

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Justin Welton
Author: Justin Welton