The study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, found that men who consumed the most calcium from food sources were 25 percent less likely to die over the next decade, compared to their peers who took in the least calcium from food. None of the men took calcium supplements.
To investigate, researchers studied more than 23,000 Swedish men who were 45 to 79 years old at the study's outset and were followed for 10 years. All of the participants had reported on their diet at the beginning of the study.
Researchers found that over the ten-year study period, the top calcium consumers had a 25 percent lower risk of dying from any cause and a 23 percent lower risk of dying from heart disease. Calcium intake didn't significantly influence the risk of dying from cancer.
The men with the highest calcium intake were getting nearly 2,000 milligrams a day, on average, compared to about 1,000 milligrams for men with the lowest intake. For the men in the study, the main sources of calcium in the diet were milk and milk products and cereal products.
Researchers report that the findings are in line with previous research linking higher calcium intake with lower mortality in both men and women. It's thought that calcium could influence mortality risk in many ways, for example by reducing blood pressure, cholesterol, or blood sugar levels.
According to Osteoporosis Canada, adults under fifty years of age need 1000 mg of calcium per day, while adults over fifty need 1500 mg per day. The best dietary sources of the mineral include dairy products, including milk and yogurt, as well as fortified soymilk, fortified orange juice, salmon, sardines and tofu (made with calcium sulphate).
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