Did you know that calcium is the most abundant mineral found in your body? Yes, it’s and about 99 percent of calcium is deposited in your bones and teeth. The remaining one percent is used by your body for several functions, such as regulating blood pressure, transmission of signals through the nerves, and the secretion of hormones.
Find out why you need calcium from your diet, how much calcium you need, and where to get your daily calcium needs.
Why Do You Need a Daily Intake of Calcium?
Calcium deposits in your bones can deplete. About every ten years, your bones undergo a remodeling process. Old bone tissue breaks down and the mineral deposits get absorbed into the bloodstream before new bones are formed. As you age, the remodeling process slow down. The rate of the breakdown of old bones outpaces the formation of new bones. Your bones lose its mineral density until it becomes weak and brittle.
Loss of bone density can occur earlier and can become worse if you do not get enough calcium from your diet because your body will use calcium deposits in your bones to use it for other important body functions.
Too much bone loss can lead to osteoporosis, a bone disease wherein your bones become too weak and prone to breaking. Falls can easily result to fractures and other bone injuries. In addition, people with osteoporosis are prone to having hunched posture because the spine is not strong enough to support the body weight.
Meeting your daily recommended calcium intake is important in keeping your bones healthy and strong.
How Much Calcium Do Adults Over 50 Needs?
The recommended daily intake of calcium varies depending on age and sex. Women over 50 may need more calcium than younger women and men of the same age due to the onset of menopause. Low levels of estrogen in women during menopause can contribute to loss of bone mass and increased risk of osteoporosis.
In general, women over 50 are recommended to take 1,200 grams of calcium per day while men have recommended daily intake of 1,000 grams of calcium per day.
The amount of calcium recommended for daily intake is established specifically for bone health and growth and to ensure healthy adults retain sufficient amount of calcium in their body.
How Do I Meet My Daily Calcium Needs?
A healthy balanced diet added with foods rich in calcium is the best way to meet your daily calcium needs.
Foods that are rich in calcium include:
- Milk Products
- Turnip Greens
When adding these foods to your diet, you should also take into consideration that most of these foods are high in fats and too much fat is bad for your health. It helps to make smart food choices such as choosing nonfat milk and plain yogurt to reduce your fat intake.
Another thing you need to consider when creating your own diet plan is the high intake of protein and sodium. These nutrients encourage excretion of calcium through your kidneys. Avoid excessive intake of foods high in protein and sodium while still making sure your body gets enough protein.
If you cannot get enough calcium from your diet for some reason, you may ask your doctor if you can take calcium supplements instead. Your doctor can recommend the correct dosage because the right dosage will depend on how much calcium you get from your diet. According to health experts, excessive intake of calcium will not benefit your bones and can even have adverse effects to your health.
Moreover, calcium supplements are best taken after a meal in lower doses, not greater than 500 milligrams. Smaller calcium doses are better absorbed by the body.
Calcium supplements are often prescribed along with vitamin D because you need it for calcium absorption. Even with sufficient intake of calcium, your body will not be able to absorb all of them if you lack vitamin D. The best source of vitamin D is exposing your skin to the sun without using sunscreen. This is something you should do with caution.
Increasing calcium intake helps to maintain healthy bones but it’s not enough to prevent or treat osteoporosis.