Hormone replacement therapy (HRT), dismissed by many postmenopausal women for such side effects such as weight gain and moodiness, may deserve another look, this time for its benefits as a bone protector.
A study in the June 1999 Annals of Internal Medicine shows low-dose HRT combined with 1,200 mg of calcium and adequate vitamin D levels helps prevent bone loss, with fewer side effects than higher-dose HRT regimens. Researchers studied 128 healthy white women age sixty-five and older for three and a half years. The spinal bone mass density in women taking 0.3 mg of conjugated equine estrogen with 2.5 mg of progesterone increased from 3.5 percent to 5.2 percent.
The National Institutes of Health recommends that postmenopausal women receiving HRT should consume 1,000 mg of calcium daily and that postmenopausal women not using HRT should take 1,500 mg a day.
Recker, R., et al. “The effect of low-dose continuous estrogen and progesterone therapy with calcium and Vitamin D on bone in elderly women.” Annals of Internal Medicine June 1, 1999, 130(11):897-904.