Algae-derived calcium positively builds bone in older people: Study

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

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Related tags: Osteoporosis

Daily supplementation with algae-derived calcium may increase bone mineral density in healthy women with age-related bone loss, according to a long term study.

The seven-year longitudinal study used the commercial AlgaeCal product that also contained magnesium, vitamins D3, K2, and C, strontium and boron. AlgaeCal is a South American marine algae, species Lithothamniom superpositum​.

Results published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition​ indicated that women receiving the vitamin-mineral enhanced plant-based calcium supplement gained an average of 1% bone mineral density (BMD) per year, or 7% over seven years.

The researchers explained that, after midlife, normal age-related annual bone loss​ is about 1% per year. 

“This study is a follow-up to 2 previous comparative effectiveness research studies that found taking AC was associated with significant increases in BMD over a 6-month study period. This significantly longer study is now the third to suggest that an age-related decline in bone mass and its accompanying increased risk for fracture is not inevitable,” ​explained principal researcher, Gilbert Kaats, PhD, from Integrative Health Technologies, Inc., in San Antonio, TX. 

Study details

The study included 172 healthy women who were registered as consumers of the AlgaeCal product from 1 to 7 years, who had completed at least one dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) BMD scan and/or blood chemistry test, and who had not been taking bisphosphonates or other anti-resporptive or bone anabolic medications. Participants volunteered to complete complimentary BMD tests.

Results showed that AlgaeCal supplementation was associated with a significant BMD increase of 1.04% per year, and 7.3% over the seven-year study period.

“The evidence found in this study suggests that the AlgaeCal supplement facilitated an increase, not a decrease, in age-related BMD,” ​wrote the researchers. “No evidence was found in cardiovascular risk as measured by adverse changes in blood lipids. Nor was any evidence found of a diminished efficacy over the 7-year study period, with data suggesting that the gains in BMD were consistent and linear over the 7-year study period. It also confirms earlier short-term studies suggesting that this supplement can facilitate significant increases in total body BMD in contrast to studies suggesting that calcium supplements can only slow down age-related declines in BMD.”

The study was funded by AlgaeCal Inc. (Vancouver, Canada).

The other researchers were affiliated with Georgetown University Medical Center (Washington, DC), Creighton University (Texas), and Transdermal Biotechnology, Inc., (Connecticut).

Source: The Journal of the American College of Nutrition
2016, Volume 35, Issue 2, Pages 91-99, doi: 10.1080/07315724.2015.1090357
“A 7-Year Longitudinal Trial of the Safety and Efficacy of a Vitamin/Mineral Enhanced Plant-Sourced Calcium Supplement”
Authors: G.R. Kaats et al.

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