Harvard Men's Health Watch

Calcium supplement basics

Q. I am 72 years old and in good health, but I am lactose intolerant and can't drink milk to obtain calcium. Should I take calcium supplements?

A. Osteoporosis (low bone density) is less common in men than women, although one in 15 men will have a hip or spinal fracture in his lifetime. Risk factors for osteoporosis include smoking, low body weight, sedentary lifestyle, and low testosterone levels.

Research shows that men who take 1,200 milligrams (mg) of calcium daily in the form of dietary supplements have denser and therefore stronger bones. But it is not yet clear that boosting bone density with calcium supplements prevents fractures in men.

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