Benefits of Calcium – Essential Nutrition for Women

Benefits of Calcium – Essential Nutrition for Women
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Building bone density and avoiding osteoporosis goes beyond eating dairy products and taking supplements. You can eat a diet full of calcium, but generally your body only absorbs about one-third of what you consume. And absorption declines as we age. In addition to boosting calcium intake, it’s essential to maintain a balanced diet, get certain minerals, and exercise.

When eating for bone strength, look for calcium rich foods including dairy products, beans, vegetables, and fruits. Mix and match sources. For instance, soy is a great non dairy alternative (especially if you’re lactose intolerant).

The calcium count: Generally, we need more calcium as we age. There are several reasons for this. Because our ability to absorb calcium declines, we need it to help counter bone loss. To assure you’re getting enough, keep track of how much calcium you get from your diet. On food labels, calcium content is often given in percentages of daily values (DVs). This is based on a daily recommendation of 1,000 mg. So, if a label says “Calcium 30 percent,” that serving has 300 mg of calcium.
Calcium for Women
To get 1,200 mg of calcium per day, which is the minimum for women if you’re age fifty-one or older, you will have to eat or drink three dairy products (about 300-330 mg each) per day (you get 200 mg of calcium from miscellaneous foods). If you are not getting enough calcium in your diet (and even if you are), talk to your clinician about calcium supplements. You don’t want to overdose on calcium. But you may need insurance that you’re getting and absorbing enough.

Source: National Institute of Medicine, National Research Council.
Sorting out calcium supplements: Calcium carbonate, calcium citrate malate, or calcium citrate are all good calcium supplements. In general, they are best absorbed when taken with a meal and taken throughout the day in dosages of 500 mg or less.

Calcium carbonate (Turns, Caltrate, Oscal) has the most calcium per pill; therefore you need to take fewer pills, but some people find it constipating. Despite this, calcium carbonate has been found to help alleviate PMS, making it an attractive option. Calcium citrate malate is the best absorbed by a slight margin but it’s more expensive (found in juices or pills). Calcium citrate (Citracal) is well absorbed and does not constipate, but you need many more pills per day since it has less calcium per pill. If you must take them between meals, calcium citrate is best absorbed.