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Clearing up Confusion about Calcium for Women in Midlife

Over the last few months I started taking Calcium. My thoughts were that I was getting older and I know several people who have osteoporosis and if I can avoid that by taking a supplement then that’s an easy fix. I bought the chew type and thought can’t hurt, right? Wanting to be better informed, I started to research and there a lot of information out there. Most of the information is similar and I realized I was going about this all wrong. This is what I found out.

I thought the main reason for putting calcium into my diet was for strong bones. There are many other reasons.

  •  Assists with blood clotting
  • Improves transmission of nerve impulses
  • Helps with regulation of heart rhythm
  • Reduces risk of fractures
  • Protects against some cancers
  • Helps control blood pressure
  • Assists with losing weight

How much calcium should I have every day? The Institute of Medicine recommends this for adults.

  • 19-50 years: 1000 milligrams a day
  • 51-70 years: 1200 milligrams a day

Your body and only absorb about 500 milligrams of calcium at one time so try to break up your intake through out your day. Calcium is absorbed better when combined with Vitamin D.

Foods rich in Calcium

Dairy products – milk, yogurt and cheese

Beans and peas – tofu, peas, black beans, baked beans

Fish – canned salmon, sardines with bones,

Vegetables – leafy vegetables, chinese cabbage and broccoli, kale, spinach

Fruit – oranges

Nuts – almonds and pistachios, peanuts

You can get calcium fortified products like orange juice, soy ilk, breakfast beverages and ready to eat cereals. Here are some additional foods and the amount of milligrams of calcium.

Foods rich in Vitamin D are fish, milk products and soy.

Supplements have become controversial. If you aren’t getting enough calcium in your diet by food you will want to consider a supplement. There is a higher risk of heart disease so ask your physician if supplements are right for you. If you want to take a supplement there are two types of calcium.

Calcium Carbonate – generally the less expensive of the two. In order for it to be absorbed properly, it should be taken with food. (Viactive is calcium carbonate)

Calcium Citrate – better for people who have low stomach acid and it’s not necessary to take this type with food. Seniors are more likely to have an easier time to take this. It is more expensive than the Calcium Carbonate products (Citracal is Calcium Citrate)

For a more detailed article Calcium this is a good resource on WebMD.

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