Calcium & Osteoarthritis

Pain, swelling and reduced motion in the joints of the body are associated with osteoarthritis, according to the National Library of Medicine. The University of Maryland Medical Center, or UMMC states that there are more than 100 types of arthritis, all with different causes. Osteoarthritis is the most common, according to UMMC. The University of Washington School of Medicine states that a common myth is that calcium intake is related to osteoarthritis. According to the university, a low-calcium diet is known to increase the risk of osteoporosis, not osteoarthritis. They also state that calcium intake is not directly associated with the onset of osteoarthritis.

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Calcium is used by the body to build strong bones, and 99 percent of the body's supply is stored in the bones and teeth, according to the National Library of Medicine. The University of Washington School of Medicine states that calcium is important for bone formation and is therefore extremely important for people with osteoporosis, which causes bones to weaken. The University states that osteoarthritis does not cause an erosion of bone, rather osteoarthritis causes an increase in bone density and results in abnormal growths of bone called osteophytes, due to the deficiency in bone resorption. Medline Plus and The National Library of Medicine state that osteoarthritis breaks down the cartilage in joints and is caused by, being overweight, age related wear and tear, and joint injury.


Osteoarthritis can cause pain and loss of motion in the joints of the spine and extremities. In addition UMMC states that symptoms include, swelling, bone growths, rubbing or grating within the joint, and difficultly climbing stairs or opening jars.


To prevent osteoarthritis, it is important to maintain a healthy body weight by eating a healthy diet and including physical activity and exercise. Calcium is a part of a healthy diet in order to build strong bones, but will not effect osteoarthritis symptoms. The Harvard School of Public Health mentions that although calcium is needed in the diet, it is not clear how much is needed. Harvard states that calcium and dairy can lower the risk of osteoporosis and colon cancer, but if too much is ingested it can increase the risk of prostate cancer and possibly ovarian cancer. Experts in diet recommend a balanced diet for people with arthritis, according to The University of Washington School of Medicine.


The University of Washington School of Medicine states that no specific foods have been found to increase the symptoms of osteoarthritis. A good diet and exercise program are the best lifestyle modifications to help with osteoarthritis.

Expert Insight

Many joint support supplements may contain calcium in order help rebuild the joints. It is important to note that osteoarthritis is not related to a deficient calcium intake. Calcium is essential for the body and can help with osteoporosis. It is most effective to eat a healthy diet in order to get the nutrition that the body requires to function properly. Combining diet and exercise will provide the essential nutrients and physical activity that the body needs to help maintain a healthy weight and decrease the symptoms of osteoarthritis.