This information is summarized from an article in the December, 2014 “Nutrition Action Health Letter”
- Osteoporosis is a silent killer; you cannot feel your bones getting weaker – until one breaks
- We all lose bone after age 50. Women lose 15% of their bone density in the 1st 5-7 years after menopause. The only way to know your individual bone mass is via a DEXA scan. This scan is recommended for women at age 65 and me at age 70 or ages 50 – 69 if you are at high risk (have had a fracture or have a medical condition that increases the risk of osteoporosis).
- Bones may break because peak density wasn’t reached in your mid-20’s. Eighty percent of bone density is determined by genetics; 20% is determined by exercise and nutrition. After age 65, exercise and nutrition play a bigger role in density than genetics. What you eat, if you exercise, if you limit alcohol and do not smoke impact the amount of calcium retained in bones.
- Keeping your core and overall muscle system strong help keep bones calcified and prevent falls and fractures.
- You can get too much calcium and research is indicating it could be a cause of kidney stones. About 1200 mg per day from food and supplement is the recommended limit. A lot of food are being fortified with calcium so read labels. Taking a 500 – 600 mg supplement is sufficient for most, but ask your doctor.
- There was some concern about calcium supplements and heart disease in women, but the current science does not indicate that is an issue.
- An intake of about 600 – 1000 IU Vit D daily along with adequate calcium intake can help with calcium absorption and may improve muscle building. Strong muscles help keep bones calcified and help prevent falls.
- A high intake fruits and vegetables (about 10 per day!) along with moderate whole grain and moderate protein intake can help the body maintain a beneficial acid / alkali balance for both maintenance of muscle mass and for bone calcification.
- Weight-bearing exercise, strength-training and balance training are all important in bone calcification and prevention of falls.