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Calcium and bones

Alternative Names

Bone strength and calcium

Information

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.

DIET

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:

  • Cheese
  • Ice cream
  • Leafy green vegetables, such as spinach and collard greens
  • Low-fat milk
  • Salmon
  • Sardines (with the bones)
  • Tofu
  • Yogurt

See also: Calcium in diet

References

National Osteoporosis Foundation. Clinician's Guide to Prevention and Treatment of Osteoporosis. Accessed July 23, 2008.


Review Date: 10/16/2009
Reviewed By: 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.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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