Thursday, July 15, 2010

Calcium


Hi Ladies:

Well, let's first start with our bones. When we are going through menopause our bones start to lose density and become more prone to fractures. If the level of calcium in our blood is too low then our body will take calcium from our bones to supply it to our muscles and nerves. Hence, low bone density which can lead to osteopenia and then osteoporosis. To find out if you are losing bone density it is important to get a bone density test ( densitometry or DXA scan) starting at the age of 50. This test will determine if you have osteoporosis or the predecessor of osteoporosis which is called osteopenia. The test is painless and does not take long at all. There is no prep for the test. A bone density test is a great way of knowing the condition of your bones and risk for fractures. If you are at risk then your doctor will absolutely tell you to take calcium.
I am hearing and reading so much in regard to how we should take calcium. I have heard that if you take a calcium supplement that is more than 500 mg. you are wasting your money. The body can only absorb 500 mg. at a time. Also you must take vitamin D supplement (400 IU) with your calcium. The vitamin D assists the body in absorbing the calcium. I am now learning that you must also take magnesium (250 mg) with your calcium which also assists in the absorption. Magnesium also helps with other body functions such as the contraction and relaxation of all muscles including the heart. There are many ways to get the calcium that we need as women over 50. I will list some foods that are calcium rich. Of course supplements are the sure way to get your daily dose of calcium which is usually between 1200 - 1500 mg/day. Women using hormone replacement therapy might require a little less calcium. Ladies....too much of any supplement can be harmful so stay at the recommended dosage. Calcium overdose can lead to kidney damage and the deposit of calcium in areas of the body where it is not needed. Also women who are at risk for developing kidney stones should take caution. Check with your doctor for possible drug interactions. It is best to take your calcium 3 times a day (at mealtime). That way you will absorb the full dose of 500 mg. It is best not to take your calcium at night. Calcium can cause heartburn during the night. I also hear that we should be taking calcium in a liquid or powder form because the calcium pills do not get absorbed by our bodies fast enough before being eliminated. I actually was listening to Andrew Lessman on HSN and learned a great deal from him in regard to calcium. I think I am going to try his Calcium-Magnesium Intensive Care. I will let you know how it goes. Ladies always check with your doctor before taking calcium or any supplement.
FYI: Calcium has a calming effect on the body. People deficient in calcium can have restlessness and wake often during the night. Guess that is why a warm glass of milk was recommended before bedtime!
FYI: Calcium is shown to have a slimming effect on women over 50!!!!! Women who get their proper daily dose of calcium are less likely to gain weight then their friends who do not take calcium supplements.
FYI: Test your calcium pill......put your calcium pill in a small container of vinegar.....if it doesn't dissolve in minutes........the supplement is not reaching your bloodstream fast enough....you are not getting the full benefit of your calcium supplement.
Okay, let's list some foods that are rich in calcium....
1. Oatmeal....350 mg
2. Cheddar cheese, 1-1/2 oz, shredded....306 mg
3. Yogurt, plain, low fat, 1 cup.....300 mg
4. Soy or rice milk, fortified with calcium, 1 cup....80-500 mg WOW!!!!! (READ THE LABELS)
5. Frozen yogurt, vanilla, soft-serve, 1/2 cup......103 mg
6. Orange juice, fortified with calcium, 6 oz.....200 - 260 mg
7. Cold cereal, fortified with calcium, 1 cup.....100 - 1000 mg WOW again!!! (READ THE LABELS)
8. Canned salmon, 3 oz......181 mg
9. Spaghetti, 1 cup.......125 mg

The list goes on.......
Ladies one more FYI....When you are reading the nutrition facts on the boxes of food and it says for calcium 20% or 30% or whatever amount it might say just remember that it translates to 200 mg or 300 mg of calcium, so just add a 0 to the number it is stating. Try to find foods that have fairly high percentages if you are counting on calcium from food. Ladies if you do find out you have osteopenia or osteoporosis talk with your doctor, a supplement will probably be recommended and remember that these are conditions that can absolutely be reversed!!!!!
Talk soon......Elyse Rose



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