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Supplements or Exercise for Osteoporosis?


If given a choice between taking calcium supplements and exercise for osteoporosis, which should I choose? And why? Thanks.”  – Rosnah


Dear Rosnah.

Thank you for your enquiry on MCR. From your question, it seems that you are comtemplating of either utilising taking calcium supplements or embarking on an exercise program to help you manage osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is a condition where the bone become fragile and have a high risk of fracture or being broken. By taking calcium supplements, we hope to optimise our bone density so as to make it stronger. However, it is noted that the effect of the supplements to to reduce the risk of a fracture is low approximately 1.13% to 2.05% depending on the site and the effect do not persist once supplementation stops.

Then, you have the option of exercise to manage osteoporosis. Exercise prevent osteoporosis due to the evidence that it can regulate bone maintenance and stimulate bone formation including the accumulation of mineral. Apart from that, exercise will also help you to strengthen your muscles, improve balance, and thus reducing the overall risk of falls and fractures.

However, effectiveness of exercise to increase bone mineral depends heavily on adequate availability of dietary calcium.This is most notable in ladies who have menopause. Therefore, in my opinion, it would be better if you decide on managing osteoporosis on both front rather than choosing just one form of treatment. This will allow you to ensure that you body have enough amount of calcium for the effect of exercise to utilise them to improve your bone density to its full potential.

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