Women have long been advised to take calcium supplements, particularly during their child-bearing years and before, during and after menopause. Calcium keeps bones strong and helps thwart osteoporosis, which is an all-too common category of bone disease.
Osteoporosis happens when the body is powerless to form new bone or when the old bone is reabsorbed by the body, or both situations occur. As a person ages, calcium, along with phosphate, can be reabsorbed back into the body from the bones and this results in fragile bone tissue. The bones become frail, brittle and break easily. To prevent this, women in particular are advised to get a lot of calcium in their diets as well as supplement with calcium pills.
It has come to light that calcium supplements may increase the risk of heart disease when taken regularly by older women so this must be taken into consideration. The Mayo Clinic points out that the calcium supplements that may have been linked to heart disease in older women are those that contain calcium only and not those that combine vitamin D with calcium.
Older women need to weigh the pros and cons of sticking to or eliminating a calcium supplement regimen while also keeping in mind that cardiovascular disease increases with age, regardless of whether a woman is taking calcium supplements.
Diet, of course, is the best way to get calcium into your system, notes the Mayo Clinic. You already know that diary foods like milk, yogurt and cheese contain a lot of calcium, but there are lots of other good sources, too. Green leafy vegetables, tofu, sesame and flax seeds, and whole wheat bread are also great sources. If you’re a snacker, almonds and brazil nuts will provide a worthwhile calcium boost.
One main reason to try to consume more calcium in your diet is because our bodies are best equipped to process nutrients from food– when those nutrients often come pre-packaged with other nutrients that work together, like magnesium and vitamin D, helping calcium absorption.
Age has a tremendous effect on bones and it is the rare person who doesn’t suffer some bone loss over the years. If you eat right and avoid certain foods when you are young you should have good bone mass when you are 30 years old. This helps safeguard against osteoporosis or osteopenia in the future, which means it is imperative that you eat right when you are young. Osteopenia refers to BMD or bone mineral density that is lower than it should be but not so low that it qualifies as osteoporosis. Both osteoporosis and osteopenia are a colossal problem among women– not so much among men, although men are still at some risk. The reason women are in such jeopardy is because once they stop menstruating and enter into menopause, they quit producing estrogen and the loss of bone mass accelerates. Combine this with a poor diet and you may be headed for trouble. There are ways to safeguard your body against calcium loss and osteoporosis or osteopenia in addition to taking supplements, and that includes avoiding certain foods.
Acid Food and Drinks
If you are consuming a diet that is exceedingly acidic your body springs into action and swipes calcium from your teeth and bones (where it is stored) so that it can maintain balanced body chemistry and to prevent you from becoming overly acidic. This returns your body to a more normal alkaline state.
Are you a soft drink junkie? If so, consider that there may be a link between soft drink consumption and osteoporosis. The higher a person’s soft drink intake, generally the lower their milk ingestion is, too.
It was determined by Tufts University researchers that those who drank three or more cola-based drinks a day had nearly four percent lower bone mineral density in their hips whereas women who drank non-cola products such as Sprite did not have lower bone density.
It may be that the phosphoric acid that is in soft drinks is causing the problem. If you are getting far too much phosphorus from drinking soda in comparison to the amount of calcium in your diet it is believed that this can lead to bone loss. This is definitely food for thought.
Another consideration is that the caffeine in soft drinks, which scientists know interferes with calcium absorption, is damaging to the bone.
Osteroporosis and Osteopenia are Much More Prevelant Now
In the past, osteoporosis and osteopenia weren’t as prevalent because people ate differently. People used to consume a predominantly alkaline diet that consisted of dairy products, fruits and vegetables, particularly the green leafy variety. Humans are now eating a diet of meat, soft drinks, grains and other acidic foods.
Dangers of to Much Calcium
While calcium is certainly integral to your health, it is just one of many minerals, vitamins, hormones and enzymes that the body requires. When an individual takes a calcium supplement this increases the need for other minerals, notably magnesium, which is necessary because it moves the calcium from the bloodstream into the bones.
When you have too much calcium and not enough magnesium in your body, the calcium deposits itself in the arteries, muscles and joints, which can lead to arthritis, fibromyalgia and blocked arteries, which certainly isn’t your goal.
When the fine capillaries in your brain get clogged by calcium, your memory and thinking capabilities are altered and not for the better. When the capillaries in your arms and legs get blocked this causes your feet and hands to become cold easily.
An excess of calcium can also lead to increased urination, diabetes, depression and flatulence (gas.)
It is essential that you address these various and important matters with your physician so you can determine exactly what type and amount of calcium supplement to take. Do not try to diagnose yourself, or follow the adage that “more is better.” With calcium, “balance is better.”