However, researchers did find that exercise helped increase bone mineral density, a measure of bone strength.
For the study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, researchers from the University of Melbourne in Australia randomly assigned men aged 59 to 70 to an exercise program, drinking milk fortified with calcium and vitamin D, doing both, or doing nothing.
They measured the men's bone density before and after the study, which took place over 18 months.
At the end of the study, men who exercised had higher bone density than those who had supplemented their diet with 1000 milligrams of calcium and 800 international units (IU) of vitamin D per day.
Adding the supplements to the exercise program provided no extra benefit, hinting that the men already had enough vitamin D and calcium in their diets to be able to boost their bone strength through exercise alone.
Despite the findings, people still need to get enough calcium and vitamin D to reduce the risk of osteoporosis, or bone thinning. Osteoporosis is characterized by low bone mass and deterioration of bone tissue, which can lead to increased bone fragility and risk of fracture, particularly of the hip, spine and wrist.
According to Osteoporosis Canada, almost 2 million Canadians are living with osteoporosis. It's estimated that 1 in 4 women and at least 1 in 8 men over 50 have the disease.
The best food sources of calcium include dairy products, such as milk, cheese and yogurt, as well as fortified soymilk, tofu (made with calcium sulphate), sardines and salmon (canned with bones). The best food sources of vitamin D include cold-water fish, such as salmon, herring, trout and sardines.
All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.