Health: Do Calcium Pills Work?

Any woman who has been faithfully swallowing her daily calcium supplements in hopes of staving off osteoporosis and colorectal cancer can be forgiven for being confused by news last week that two major studies found that the pills provide little or no benefit against either condition. But as is so often the case with complicated health studies, it pays to dig beyond the headlines.

First the news. A study of more than 36,000 healthy postmenopausal women determined that taking a standard calcium-and-vitamin-D supplement for seven years had no significant effect for most of them on preventing fractures in the spine, arms...

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