Thoughts on Better Aging

Should You Be Taking a Calcium Supplement?

August 27th, 2014

Talk to the experts before supplementing calcium beyond your normal multivitamin.

Every three seconds, someone in the world suffers a fracture due to low bone mass. Many of these individuals are menopausal women whose bones have become brittle due to osteoporosis, a condition characterized by the inability to rebuild bone tissue as quickly as needed to maintain strong and healthy bones. Calcium supplements are one widely-known and widely-used method of preventing osteoporosis. In fact, an estimated 70 percent of menopausal women regularly take a calcium supplement. However, supplementing calcium isn’t as simple as you might think. Here are some tips that will help ensure that you are getting the correct amount of calcium and that this calcium is getting used in a healthy way.

Calculate Your Dietary Calcium Intake

First of all, it’s important not to just assume you need to take a calcium supplement just because you are getting older. It is entirely possible that you are already getting enough calcium from your diet. According to the National Institutes of Health, an “adequate intake” of calcium for a woman over 50 is 1,200 mg per day. The “tolerable upper intake” is 2,000 mg per day. Generally speaking, it is best to get as close to the upper limit as possible though you should check with your doctor first. To determine how much calcium you are getting from your diet, keep a food diary where you record everything you eat. Then look up the nutritional information on each food and figure out how much calcium you are getting. If you are falling short, consider adding more calcium-rich foods to your diet or taking a supplement.

Consider Factors Affecting Calcium Absorption

In order to get the full benefit from the calcium you ingest in foods or in a supplement, you need to make sure your body is absorbing the calcium at the best possible rate. Here are some points to consider:

  • Healthy levels of Vitamin D in the diet are essential for maximized calcium absorption
  • High sodium intake can increase the amount of calcium excreted in urine
  • Calcium absorption is highest in dosages of 500 mg or less.
  • Supplements containing calcium carbonate are absorbed most efficiently when taken with food.

Consider Hormonal Factors Affecting Bone Health

Age-related bone loss can be exacerbated by hormonal imbalance in menopausal women. Specifically, declining estrogen can interfere with the normal functioning of cells that break down and rebuild bone tissue. By restoring estrogen to a healthy level with a quality hormone replacement therapy, you can keep the cells that break bone down from becoming overactive and encourage the cells that rebuild bone to flourish. Since Renew Woman™ offers expert hormone replacement therapy as well as nutritional guidance, we make an excellent choice of physician to consult before beginning your calcium supplement program.

 

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