Prevention of osteoporosis: the calcium controversy.
The continuing scientific controversy regarding the use of calcium supplements for the prevention of osteoporosis during menopause presents a challenge to the nurse practitioner. There is little doubt that estrogen prevents bone loss following menopause, but there is a growing doubt among many researchers whether calcium supplementation beyond 800 mg/per day produces any benefit at all in preventing postmenopausal osteoporosis. Yet, the medical consensus in this country continues to recommend 1500 mg of calcium per day for menopausal women. The practitioner’s clinical questions relate to the effectiveness, cost, and compliance of calcium prescription. An alternate recommendation and protocol are presented here.