Calcium and bones
Bone strength and calcium
Calcium and phosphate are two minerals that are essential for normal bone formation. Throughout youth, your body uses these minerals to produce bones. If you do not get enough calcium, or if your body does not absorb enough calcium from the diet, bone production and bone tissues may suffer.
As you age, calcium and phosphate may be reabsorbed back into the body from the bones, which makes the bone tissue weaker. Bone mineral density peaks between ages 25 - 35, and decreases after that. This can result in brittle, fragile bones that are more prone to fractures, even without injury. There is strong evidence that calcium helps build dense bones and prevents osteoporosis.
Get at least 1,200 milligrams per day of calcium and 800 - 1,000 international units of vitamin D3. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium. Your doctor may recommend a supplement to give you the calcium and vitamin D you need.
Follow a diet that provides the proper amount of calcium, vitamin D, and protein. Although this will not completely stop bone loss, it will guarantee that a supply of the materials the body uses to form and maintain bones is available.
High-calcium foods include:
- Ice cream
- Leafy green vegetables, such as spinach and collard greens
- Low-fat milk
- Sardines (with the bones)
See also: Calcium in diet
National Osteoporosis Foundation. Clinician's Guide to Prevention and Treatment of Osteoporosis. Accessed July 23, 2008.
Dennis Ogiela, MD, Orthopedic Surgeon, Danbury Hospital, Danbury, CT. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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