Lots of people assume that as you age, your bones have to deteriorate. In fact, this isn’t the case. You can do a lot to prevent the onset of osteoporosis. Even after diagnosis, you can take positive steps to improve your bone health.
A note for men: A recent study out of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center indicates that men are not screened adequately for bone loss and osteoporosis. As a result, there are lots of older men with significant risk for fractures who are not aware of their high risk.
The best ways to combat osteoporosis include dietary management, exercise, and reducing harmful behavior. Today, we are going to focus on dietary intake of vitamins and minerals.
Getting enough Calcium: Calcium, an essential mineral, is a builder of bones and its presence also keeps our bones in optimum condition. Our body does not naturally replace calcium, so we have to replenish our calcium supply daily. Do you get enough calcium? Women need more than men, and everybody has to increase their calcium intake as we age. You should attempt to get most of your calcium from the food you eat, and only use a supplement to make up the shortfall. There are no risks to eating the required amount of calcium, but there are some side effects from calcium supplements. Consult with your health care provider regarding your recommended calcium intake.
Daily Calcium Needs
Women 50 years and younger: 1,000 mg/day
Women 51 years and older: 1,200 mg/day
Men 70 years and younger: 1,000 mg/day
Men 71 years and older: 1,200 mg/day
Getting enough Vitamin D: Vitamin D allows your body to absorb calcium. Some of the foods which contain calcium also contain Vitamin D, but it is difficult to get all of the required Vitamin D through food alone. Sunlight also aids in production of Vitamin D, but those who live in cloudy locales or who apply sunscreen to prevent skin cancer don’t get the Vitamin D through the sunlight. For most people, a Vitamin D supplement is necessary. You should take a supplement that covers the shortfall of Vitamin D that you don’t take in with food. Consult with your health care provider regarding your appropriate Vitamin D requirement.
Daily Vitamin D Requirements
Women and Men under Age 50: 400-800 International Units/Day
Women and Men, Age 51 and Older: 800-1,000 International Units/Day