How Do I Get Enough Calcium (with or without dairy!)?Aug 31, 2022
First, the scary news. Up to 1.5 million broken bones happen each year in the US because of osteoporosis, about 250,000 of which are hip fractures. There is a 71% mortality rate for women who don't have surgery following a hip fracture. So ladies, let's keep those bones healthy!
Why is Calcium Important?
We all know that calcium is critical for healthy bones. Our bones, however, are not static. They are constantly remodeling (aka, breaking down and building back up), which is why they are able to stay strong and adapt to the changes in our body over time. On a day-to-day basis, Calcium is also critical for healthy functioning of our brain, nerves, muscles, and heart. Our bones also act as a storehouse for Calcium, so if we do not get enough Calcium each day our body will pull it from the bones to keep the body running. So we need enough of it to run our body and to keep up with healthy remodeling of the bones.
Who needs extra Calcium?
While anyone can develop osteoporosis, the group most at risk is generally:
The data shows that the optimal BMI for osteoporosis prevention is 27. However, this BMI is considered overweight and not optimal for cardiovascular health. Which means that if you are a postmenopausal woman at a “healthy” weight, you still need some extra bone support. Estrogen is critical for keeping our bones strong, so after menopause our bones are at a higher risk of developing osteopenia or osteoporosis. For women who have gone through early menopause, the risk is even higher.
What Foods are High in Calcium?
The RDI for Calcium is 800mg; 1200 for pregnant or lactating women.
Dairy products are touted as our best source of calcium, but not everyone tolerates dairy and there are other good food sources. Here’s a list for a one-cup serving of each of these foods:
Dark Green leafy veggies (cooked): 200-450mg (turnip greens highest)
Cooked Beans: 100-140mg
Sardines with bones: 1000mg
Canned Salmon with bones: 490mg
Sea Vegetables (seaweed): 1000-3500mg
Whole wheat flour, cornmeal, rye flour, oats: 40-50mg
Nuts and Seeds:
Sunflower seeds: 260mg
What are the best Calcium Supplements?
Every person has different needs, so it is important to find a calcium supplement that is right for you. For anyone taking Calcium, I recommend balancing it with Magnesium, Boron, and Vitamin D, as all of these are critical for healthy bones. Many people also find Calcium to be constipating; Magnesium tends to help things move along so a supplement containing both can be beneficial to the digestion.
I have three favorite Calcium/Mineral options that I recommend in my practice. Let me know if you would like more information about any of them!
Liquid Calcium Magnesium: is what I use most often because it is easy to take and easy for the body to absorb. In addition to bone health benefits, this formula can help with constipation, muscle cramping and can improve the quality of sleep. For this reason I usually recommend taking this at night before bed. For people with greater severity of these symptoms, I will often use a formula with equal parts Magnesium and Calcium; otherwise there is a formula with equal parts of these minerals.
Multimineral + Vitamin D: For active women who need a more complete mineral supplement to balance electrolytes as well as bone health, I like this product.
Osteoprime Forte This is what I use for people with osteopenia or osteoporosis. Osteoprime also has a full complement of Vitamins and Minerals so it can substitute for your regular multi.
For More information on these products you can visit my supplement dispensary
Here’s to our good health!
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