Oral Contraceptives North Pole AK

Young women who take oral contraceptives, aka the Pill, can reduce their risk of developing osteoporosis later in life, but only if they increase their dietary calcium intake now, new research shows. Previous studies indicate the Pill might interfere with optimal bone mass development in adolescents and young women, making them prone to postmenopausal bone loss and fractures. About 80 percent of American women have taken oral contraceptives during their teens and 20s, key bone-building years.

Dennis Ray Hartung, MD
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Taking the Pill? Add More Calcium

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Young women who take oral contraceptives, aka the Pill, can reduce their risk of developing osteoporosis later in life, but only if they increase their dietary calcium intake now, new research shows. Previous studies indicate the Pill might interfere with optimal bone mass development in adolescents and young women, making them prone to postmenopausal bone loss and fractures. About 80 percent of American women have taken oral contraceptives during their teens and 20s, key bone-building years.

Purdue University researchers tracked 135 healthy women aged 18 to 30 who consumed less than 800 mg per day of dietary calcium. (Recommended intake is 1,000 mg per day.) They compared contraceptive users (57 of the study’s women) to non-users. Each set of women was divided into three groups: One continued eating low levels of calcium, the second added more low-fat, calcium-rich dairy foods to their diet, and the third ate high levels of dietary calcium.

After a year, contraceptive takers who did not increase their dairy intake lost about 1.4 to 2 percent more bone mass density in their hips and spine than those who ate higher quantities of calcium-rich foods. Women who did not take the Pill maintained normal bone density. While 1 to 2 percent sounds small, even tiny bone-mass changes during youth is significant in the long run. And bone loss is compounded each year a woman takes the Pill.

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