by Linnette Johnson
Osteoporosis is a common bone disease that can affect everyone but mostly women after menopause. Basically, the bone mass decreases or deteriorates to the point the person is susceptible to fractures especially to the hip bones, forearm bones and vertebrae bones (NIH , 2017). There are numerous reasons for osteoporosis to occur from genetic, hormonal, medications, smoking etc. Just like there are numerous reasons for the disease there are numerous treatments to help slow or stop the progression such as hormone therapy, nutritional intake, supplements and exercise etc. However, the main focus for this discussion would be the effects calcium and calcium supplements have on those with osteoporosis.
Studies show that calcium dietary intake and supplements slow bone loss and even long term use will sustain that slower rate of loss (Reid, 1993 & 1995). Apparently bone loss increases when someone has less than 400 mg per day which increases that bone loss (Reid, 1993). At the same time there is no evidence that taking calcium at a higher rate such as 1000 mg per day will have more of an affect (Reid , 1993). Recommendations vary from how much should be dietary and how much should be taken as a supplemental form. Overall consensus appears to be 1000-1300mg for those 14-70 plus years of age which is dependent on the age of the person however a postmenopausal woman should take up to 1200 mg a day (NIH 2018). A person has to make sure they calculate their dietary intake when determining the amount they should take in a supplements because milk products such as yogurt and cheese have naturally high amounts of calcium. Another factor that needs to be understood is that some medications and supplements could hinder absorption of calcium or increase the absorption of calcium. For example, some chemotherapy medications could decreased levels of calcium but vitamin D supplements could cause higher levels of calcium. Some medications shouldn’t be taken at the same time as a calcium supplement etc. Being aware of the intake amounts with limit the possible issue of to much calcium known as hypercalcemia, which causes renal insufficiency, vascular and soft tissue calcification and kidney stones (NIH, 2018). Just remember a balanced amount is beneficial but to much of a good thing could end up being another health issue or ailment.
Lastly, just like with anything else, the best course is to be aware of one’s genetic history and/or the telltale signs of possibly having osteoporosis which is getting shorter or bones breaking easier than normal. By knowing the signs it could possibly be caught in the early stages so that an intervention therapy could be put into place such as increasing one’s calcium intake which has shown strong results in slowing or stopping the bone loss progression. Hence, it’s why I watch and maintain certain levels of calcium because I have a long line of family members with osteoporosis such as my mother. It’s something to be monitored as I age because I am a firm believer that knowledge is power and by knowing certain things can be beneficial. If not sure, it never hurts to discuss health aspects with your medical doctors too.
NIH (2018) Calcium fact sheet. Retrieved February 07, 2019 from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Calcium-HealthProfessional/
NIH (2017) National institute on aging. Retrieved February 07, 2019 from https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/osteoporosis
Reid, I.R., Ames, R.W., Evans, M.C., Gamble, G.D., Sharpe, S.J., (1993) Effect of calcium supplementation on bone loss postmenopausal women. Retrieved February 07, 2019 from https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM199302183280702
Reid, I.R., Ames, R.W., Evans, M.C., Gamble, G.D., Sharpe, S.J., (1995) Long-term effects of calcium supplementation on bone loss and fractures in postmenopausal women: a randomized controlled trail. Retrieved February 07, 2019 from https://www.amjmed.com/article/S0002-9343(99)80310-6/abstract
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