Are You Getting Enough Calcium?

Mom was right when she said to drink your milk! One of the key nutrients found in milk is calcium — the most abundant mineral in the body found primarily in the skeleton to help build and support strong bones and teeth. Calcium can also affect muscle contractions, nerve function, blood clotting and heartbeat regulation. Making sure you get sufficient amounts of calcium every day is essential for general health as well as bone health. Low blood calcium levels may cause muscle spasms and leg cramps. Bottom line: You need to get enough calcium every day for overall health and to help build and support strong bones.

Building a solid foundation for strong bones starts in our early years. In fact, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, peak bone mass is usually reached by ages 18 -25.1 This means that your genetic predisposition for laying down bone occurs early in life. In children, a calcium and vitamin D deficiency may lead to rickets —- a failure of bone to mineralize or a softening of the bone. This can lead to bone deformities and growth retardation. The message is clear: Take measures to help support bone health with an adequate intake of calcium and vitamin D during childhood and adolescence. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, osteoporosis is a condition in which the bones become weak and may break from a minor fall. This can occur when losing too much bone, make too little bone or both and is common in older individuals.2 Adequate calcium and vitamin D as part of a healthful diet, along with physical activity, may reduce the risk of osteoporosis later in life.

Most people do not consume the recommended intake for calcium (1000 – 1300 mg/day for most adults3). 49% of American adults do not meet their daily calcium requirements through their diets.4 The first step is to know how much calcium you need. Incorporate calcium-rich foods (3 servings per day are recommended) and a calcium supplement to meet your daily calcium requirements:

Age Group:

RDA/ DRI for Calcium (mg/day)

9-18 years

1300

19-50 years

1000

51 years +

1200


Nature Made offers a variety of calcium supplements to suit your individual needs. There are several tablet as well as softgel products including Nature Made Calcium petites for those who have trouble swallowing larger tablets. Nature Made also provides calcium in different sensory forms such as Adult Gummies Calcium and VitaMelts® Calcium + D3 for a great tasting experience. Be sure to read labels, since suggested use amounts may vary from product to product. Also, if you are taking any supplements containing iron, be sure to take your calcium supplement separately for optimal effectiveness.

Remember, vitamin D is also important! Vitamin D helps improve calcium absorption. Conveniently, it is included in calcium supplements for improved absorption of calcium to help support bone health. Talk to your doctor about getting your vitamin D level tested and determine what level of vitamin D is right for you.

As you bone up on your calcium and vitamin D, there are some other steps to take to help support bone health:

• Engage in weight-bearing activity regularly (walking, weight training, and resistance exercises).
• Avoid smoking and limit alcohol consumption.
• Ask your healthcare provider about a bone mineral density test to help assess your risk for osteoporosis.
• For more information, visit The National Osteoporosis Foundation at www.NOF.org.

 

References
1. National Osteoporosis Foundation. Bone Basics. 2016. Internet: http://nof.org/learn/bonebasics. Accessed on 04 March 2016.
2. National Osteoporosis Foundation. What is Osteoporosis?. 2016. Internet: http://nof.org/articles/7. Accessed on 04 March 2016.
3. Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine (IOM). Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin D and Calcium. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2011.
4. Fulgoni VL, Keast FR, Bailey RL et al. Foods, Fortificants, and Supplements: Where Do Americans Get Their Nutrients? J Nutr 2011; 141:1847-54.