The Exact Amount of Calcium You Need for Osteoporosis Prevention
What is Osteoporosis?
Getting old can be difficult. However, how would you like a fall, bending over or just a cough to result in a bone fracture? Yes, that can happen if you should develop the condition known as osteoporosis.
What is osteoporosis? The word itself means “porous bones”. It is, however, a condition that causes the gradual thinning and weakening of bones. People with osteoporosis are highly susceptible to bone fractures. In fact, osteoporosis is responsible for approximately 2 million bone fractures every year.
You most likely are unaware of the fact that as a living tissue bone is continually broken down and when it is broken down it is replaced. When the replacement of the broken down bones doesn’t keep up with the loss of old bone at the mid-thirties age, osteoporosis disease is the result.
Any of your bones can be affected by this disease, but the bones most commonly affected are the hip, spine and wrist. These bones are among the ones most likely to break. A hip fracture for an elderly person can be most debilitating and dangerous due to the need for immobility for a prolonged period of time in order to allow for the healing process to take place. This immobility for the elderly can have fatal consequences due to it causing the formation of blood clots or pneumonia.
Both men and women of all races can be affected by osteoporosis. However, those who have the highest risk are older women past menopause. Osteoporosis has affected as many as 8.9 million Americans and at least 80% of those affected are women. One reason for this is that women’s bones are less dense and lighter. In addition, menopause causes hormonal changes that usually speeds up bone mass loss.
Symptoms of Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis can be considered a silent disease since in its early stages there are usually no symptoms. However, if your bones should be weakened, you may experience the following:
• Backache – If the pain is severe, it could be caused by a collapsed or fractured vertebra due to osteoporosis.
• A gradual loss of height over time.
• Posture that is stooped.
• Easily fracturing wrist, spine or hip.
Calcium Prevents Osteoporosis
99% of your body’s calcium is in your bones and teeth. Your bones store the calcium that your body uses and replaces it with your diet throughout your life. If you do not consume enough calcium, your body takes the amount needed of calcium from your bones. If your diet does not include sufficient calcium to replace that which was taken from your bones, your bones become both weak and fragile as you get older resulting in osteoporosis as well as fractures. This is why it is so important for your diet to include a sufficient amount of calcium and vitamin D.
RELATED ARTICLE: 9 Warning Signs You Might Have Osteoporosis
The prevention of osteoporosis actually should begin during your childhood and adolescence with exercise and the right nutrients including vitamin D and, of course, calcium and should continue into your adult years.
The amounts of calcium needed to both maintain and develop bone mass varies according to your age. Because teenagers have significant and rapid growth of their bones, larger amounts of calcium are important. This is also true for a person over 50 years of age.
Your age and gender determine your appropriate amount of calcium intake needed. The appropriate daily amount of calcium can be between 1,000 and 1,300 milligrams.
The daily amounts of calcium recommended for both men and women are as follows:
Age/ Calcium Amount
1 to 3/ 500mg.
*Note: Since excessive levels of calcium can interfere with your absorption of other minerals and weaken your kidney functions, you should not exceed 2,500 mg. daily.
Food Sources of Calcium
The following foods are good sources of calcium: yogurt, milk, cheese, sardines, cabbage, broccoli, orange juice, soy milk and tofu that is processed with calcium sulfate. For a list of calcium rich foods and exact amounts of calcium in them refer to NIH Osteoporosis & Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center.
Studies on Osteoporosis Prevention with Calcium and Vitamin D
According to the British Medical Journal, a study was conducted of 68,500 patients from 7 European and American trials. Some of the study’s participants supplemented their diet with both vitamin D and calcium and others only received vitamin D supplements. The results showed that the participants receiving both vitamin D and calcium had fewer fractures and, therefore, a lower risk than those participants receiving only vitamin D supplements.
It has been claimed by some people that calcium and vitamin D supplements could be dangerous for older women since they were thought to increase the risk of myocardial infarction. However, a study in October of 2013 found that these supplements are safe for older women and do not increase heart disease risk or death.
Calcium is needed for strong bones and the prevention of osteoporosis. However, knowing the exact amount of calcium you should be including in your diet daily is not an easy chore. There is the danger of developing kidney stones if you should ingest too much calcium, but that is very rare. The amount you need is dependent on your age, but you also need to know the calcium amounts of the foods in your daily diet. The information provided here should help you with your determination. Further information can also be found at WebMd and the MayoClinic.