Calcium and Healthy, Strong Bones
Calcium is the building block for bone structure and consequently a very important mineral, especially for those in middle or older age. And while this blog focuses on the importance of calcium for the bones, it is also critical to proper muscle and nerve function as well. Our bones shed and rebuild tissue through our entire lives. This regenerative process keeps them healthy and strong, while reducing the risk of fracture. However, as we get older, this regeneration process shifts – more bone is lost and less bone is regenerated, causing a net loss in bone density.
Age is the primary cause of bone density loss, however being female and consuming a diet low in calcium are also risk factors. Other factors may also include certain metabolic diseases, Vitamin D deficiency and rapid weight loss, for example after dieting or weight loss surgery.
As such, getting enough calcium is critically important as we age. Of course, we all know that calcium is contained in milk and dairy products, but many of these are high in fat and sugar, which may negate some of its benefits. You can also get calcium from other sources including leafy green vegetables, fortified grains and some fish.
However, if you are at risk of excessive bone loss, speak to your primary care physician or orthopedic surgeon to get a simple bone density test as well as blood test that measures vitamin and mineral levels in your body. Based on the results, you may need a daily multivitamin or calcium supplementation – often taken in the form of convenient and rather tasty chews.
It is important, that any new supplementation regimen be pursued under the supervision of a qualified physician such as your PCP or surgeon. Further, calcium is only absorbed by the body when it has sufficient levels of vitamin D. If you don’t go outside much, you may be deficient in vitamin D (along with a significant portion of the American population). You may need to supplement your vitamin D to bring levels back up to normal and improve calcium absorption.
If you don’t respond to supplementation, a medication regimen may be needed to stabilize bone density and reverse some bone loss.
The bottom line: Calcium is a critical part of avoiding bone density loss and subsequent risk of fracture. And while it may seem straightforward, there are other issues that factor into the decision on how to mitigate bone density loss.
For more information, contact our office for a consultation.