It’s not clear whether taking calcium supplements to prevent bone breaks down the road is effective or not for most women. Several studies have shown conflicting results.
According to this Medical News Today article summarizing the results of an Australian research study of 1,460 women over the age of 70, calcium pills can strengthen bones and prevent fractures, but only if the women are consistent about taking the pills.
The five year study showed that for “compliant” women—those who took 80% or more of their daily calcium supplements—bone density improved and the risk of breaking a bone dropped compared to the women who didn’t take any calcium.
“These data supported the continued use of calcium supplements by women who are able to remain compliant with their use. In these individuals, especially if they are under the care of a clinician, calcium supplementation is a safe and effective therapy for reducing the risk of osteoporitic fracture.” writes the researchers, according to the Medical News Today article.
2006. “Calcium Supplements May Prevent Fractures in Elderly Women Who Take Them Regularly,” Medical News Today article.
Prince, R. et al, 2006. “Effects of Calcium Supplementation on Clinical Fracture and Bone Structure,” Arch Int Med.