Bone density matters as you get older – particularly for women. Our bones are the body’s structural frame and calcium deficiency puts you at risk of bone mineral loss, joint pain, poor mobility and diseases like osteoporosis and osteoarthritis.
You may be surprised to find out that calcium is one of the most abundant minerals in your body accounting for 1.5% of your total body weight – mostly in your bones and teeth.
Not surprisingly – your body needs a daily supply of calcium to repair, build and maintain bone density and strengthen teeth.
Chances are that as a women over 40 you need to supplement your intake of calcium to protect yourself from some of the worst diseases of aging that impact women more than men. A high quality calcium supplement could be an important part of your anti aging plan.
Calcium plays a vital role in many important activities like blood clotting, nerve conduction, muscle contraction, regulation of enzyme activity, and cell membrane function.
Although your body needs calcium for all these functions – it has no means of making it – it has to come through what you eat every day. Not only that but we lose calcium from our bodies all the time – through shedding skin, nails, hair, sweat, and urine.
When we don’t have enough calcium in the blood due to poor diet the body will draw on calcium stores in our bones to maintain the blood concentrations it needs to function properly.
Aging impacts bone density significantly since after the age of 35 – more bone is lost than gained. Additionally for women – the menopause accelerates bone loss and osteoporosis can be the result. A lack of exercise can be another contributory factor in this disfiguring and aging disease.
You may not know that you are deficient in calcium – it can be difficult to spot.
You may notice you are prone to bone fractures or maybe you get muscle pain, spasms or tingling in your hands and feet. Of course, this doesn’t always happen – you could go on for many years with a depleted calcium intake without realizing it.
The problem will only be apparent later in life should osteoporosis or osteoarthritis result. For women especially – it is so sensible to make sure you don’t leave it to chance by taking a good daily calcium tablet.
So – how do you know how much calcium you need?
You need to make sure that you take in enough calcium to protect yourself from bone loss and osteoporosis.
If you are post menopause and not taking HRT – the recommended daily intake is 1500 mg and for younger premenopausal women (31-50) 1000 mg. You should aim to keep within 2500 mg per day at the upper end.
Don’t forget that the upper limit include all the calcium in your diet as well as any you take as a supplement.
There are many excellent sources of calcium in the diet including: cow’s and goat’s milk, low fat dairy yoghurt, mozarella cheese, spinach, basil and sesame seeds (either whole or ground as in tahini).
Unfortunately, in recent years the emphasis on low fat foods and worries about cholesterol in the diet have caused many people to shun certain foods – like dairy food – that are great natural sources of calcium. The balance is being redressed now with increasing studies showing the importance of calcium – particularly for anti aging health.
The good news is that calcium in foods is not adversely impacted by cooking or long term storage so what you eat is what you’ll get. Don’t forget to increase your intake of vitamin C at the same time – either through food or a vitamin supplement – since vitamin C aids the absorption of calcium.
Many multivitamin supplements contain calcium. But if you want to take more then add a maximum of 1000 mg as a daily dose.
Make sure you avoid the cheaper calcium supplements based on refined calcium carbonate alone which is less easily absorbed by the body. Research indicates that calcium supplements based on calcium chelates, especially calcium citrate, are more readily absorbed than calcium carbonate.
For best results buy a mixed source calcium supplement which is combined with Magnesium for maximum effect. And don’t forget to increase the amount of load bearing exercise you do to build up your bone density and strength.