Calcium deficiency leading to Osteoporosis is common, especially in older adults. This only comes to light when you start facing issues such as knee pain or bones getting fractured in a snap. In order to avoid such health issues and complications, it is better to keep your body well-nourished and watch out for nutrient deficiencies. Calcium supplementation is greatly recommended in case of osteoporosis. In this article, you will find everything you need to know about calcium supplementation for Osteoporosis.
What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a condition where the bones of the individual weaken and become fragile. Bone is living tissue, it has air sacs inside and has a structure like that of a honeycomb. In osteoporosis, this structure becomes more porous and affects the density of the bone. This leads to fragile bones and mostly affects smaller joints like the wrist, ankle, etc.
Symptoms of Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis presents with the following symptoms
● Receding gums
● Brittle nails
● Weakened grip
● Backache and knee pains
● Brittle bones leading to easy fractures
Causes of Osteoporosis
Causes of Osteoporosis usually include underlying health conditions such as Hyperthyroidism or severe nutritional deficiencies.
Bones and calcium
While most calcium is stored in the bones and teeth in the body, it keeps moving in and out of the bones throughout the day, meaning that the bones keep breaking and forming. This process is a part of bone formation. From childhood to adulthood, bone formation is a rapid process than bone breakdown. It is after adulthood – 30 years of age that the process of bone formation slows down and the bones start deteriorating. From the age of 30, extra care has to be taken in terms of diet and exercises to maintain bone health. The bone breakdown is especially more evident in older women, menopause contributes to bone breakdown and they lose bones at a faster rate. Calcium is a mineral that is crucial for normal body functioning. It can be obtained from a number of food sources as well as supplements in the form of tablets. Calcium-fortified foods are also a source of Calcium.
Role of Calcium in the body
1. The most important role of this mineral is to maintain healthy bones and teeth. It is stored in the bones and it moves in and out of them throughout the day when we perform physical activity.
2. Calcium is also needed for muscle movements.
3. Calcium plays an important role in the nervous system. It is required for the nerves to carry messages from the brain to all body parts.
4. Apart from the above functions, calcium is also required for blood circulation. It helps the blood vessels circulate in the body and release hormones and enzymes for various body functions.
Required dietary intake of calcium
From childhood to adulthood, the requirement of calcium in an individual ranges from 200mg to 1300mg, the requirement reduces and it ranges between 1300mg to 1000mg. Here is the table that shows the recommended intake of calcium for adults
|Age Group Recommended Amount|
|Adults (19-50 years)- 1000mg|
|Adult men (51-70 years)- 1000mg|
|Adult women (51-70 years)- 1200mg|
|Adults (71+ years)- 1200mg|
|Pregnant and breastfeeding teens- 1300mg|
|Pregnant and breastfeeding adults- 1000mg|
Sources of Calcium
Here are some calcium-rich food sources
1. Milk and dairy products
Milk, cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt, etc. are rich sources of calcium and foods that most people consume.
Fish and other varieties of seafood such as prawns, oysters, mussels, etc. are rich sources of calcium.
3. Leafy greens
Green leafy vegetables such as cabbage, kale, spinach, etc. are good sources of calcium.
4. Whole grains and cereals such as wheat are not rich sources of calcium but these sources can still be beneficial as they are consumed in larger amounts.
5. Lastly, fortified foods such as certain breakfast cereals, soy products, and some beverages also can be consumed for calcium.
Calcium is obtained from the food sources mentioned above, provided that the individual is following a well-balanced diet. It is especially easier for people who consume dairy products to obtain calcium through the diet. Although, those who are lactose intolerant, or who follow a vegan lifestyle, might face a challenge with meeting the recommended intake. There are also certain health conditions that can affect the absorption of calcium in the body.
In such cases, when fulfilling the requirement of calcium through the diet is not possible, calcium supplements come to light. It is advisable to consume calcium supplements in such cases.
Types of calcium supplements
The two most commonly used calcium supplements are calcium citrate and calcium carbonate supplements. The two types are based on the environment required by them to be absorbed in the body.
A. Calcium carbonate – These supplements need an acidic environment to dissolve and be absorbed in the body. These supplements are better taken with a meal. B. Calcium citrate – These supplements do not need the acid environment to be dissolved or absorbed in the body. They can be taken at any time and by anyone. It is advised for people who are on medications for some health conditions and older adults who might not have acids in the stomach.
It is advisable to go for a calcium supplement that provides no more than 500mg of calcium in a dose. This dose is better absorbed in the body.
An overdose of calcium supplements can lead to kidney ailments such as kidney stones or deteriorated kidney function. An overdose of supplements can also be harmful. Consult a doctor or a health expert before starting with any supplement.
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