Researchers at the University of Sheffield, UK report improved bone health in teenage girls who took calcium supplements. Young girls receiving calcium supplements had a greater bone mineral content (BMC) and bone mineral density (BMD) compared with those receiving placebos. When re-tested two years later, individuals who continued taking calcium maintained better bone health than those who failed to take a daily supplement.
Osteoporosis is a condition that leads to decreased bone mass and bone density. In America, ten million people have osteoporosis. Of the ten million Americans diagnosed with osteoporosis eight million of them are women over age fifty. This study shows calcium supplementation as early as possible may help safeguard bone health in later years.
In another study reported in the Journal of Nutrition, reduced salt intake also plays a role in decreasing calcium loss and improves bone density. Five hundred milligrams of sodium causes a loss of ten milligrams of calcium. With both calcium supplementation and reducing excessive salt intake it is possible to build a foundation of strong bone health that will carry forward to later years.
A well documented key to increasing bone health is regular weight bearing exercises and strength training. Starting the healthy habit of intentional exercise that incorporates strength training also builds the basis for optimal bone health.
Not All Calcium Supplements Are Created Equal.
Some forms of calcium are more readily absorbed by the body. Calcium absorption is influenced by a combination of factors including stomach acid, Vitamin D levels, estrogen levels as well as the type of calcium that is taken.
The type of calcium most readily absorbed is calcium citrate. Calcium citrate can be taken at any time of day sand can even be taken on an empty stomach as acid levels do not affect the absorption rate. The is a difference between the amount of calcium in a tablet and the amount readily available to the body for use so it may be necessary to increase the numbers of tablets taken.
Of course, a healthy diet balanced in fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and dairy products is the ideal way to support overall good health. Since most dairy products contain an average 300 milligrams of calcium, most women should take a calcium supplement and these studies give a good indicator that the sooner this becomes a habit, the stronger bone health will be in later years. Healthy habits really can support a longer and strong lifestyle in the years ahead.
Attention to educating young girls in the importance that establishing healthy habits, may help decrease the number of women who struggle with trying to halt or reverse calcium loss in later years.
Calcium Pills Effective for Boosting Bone Health in Teenage Girls.Stephen Daniells, NutraIngredients-USA, 2/19/08, nutraingredients-usa.com
Osteoporosis Fast Facts. National Osteoporosis Foundation, NOF.Org
The DASH Diet and Sodium Restriction Improve Markers of Bone Turn Over and Calcium Metabolism In Adults.
Department of Medicine, Sarah W. Stedman Center for Nutritional Studies, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, USA. [email protected], J Nutr. 2003 Oct;133(10):3130-6.