Chances are your health care provider has reminded you that you need to get enough calcium in your diet or to add a calcium supplement to your daily routine. But, why? Why do women need calcium more so than men and how much calcium should you take? Do you have to take supplements or are there foods that offer enough calcium? More importantly, can you take too much calcium and if so, what happens? The following is everything you need to know about calcium.
Why Do Women Need Calcium?
As women age and hit menopause their bodies produce much less estrogen than before. Unfortunately, estrogen is important in preventing bone loss. For women who haven’t gotten enough calcium in their life, this can be a big problem. You see, as we age our bones stop developing, by the age of 30 our bones have pretty much stopped absorbing calcium. However, calcium is important for our bodies to function and if we aren’t supplying out bodies with enough calcium, the calcium will be taken from our bones. This causes the bone density to decrease and can eventually lead to osteoporosis. Couple the draining of the calcium resources with the lack of estrogen in menopause and you’re looking at very brittle bones, but you can do something about it.
How Much Calcium Should Women Take?
The amount of calcium your body needs can vary, especially for women who take medication that may deplete their calcium stores, such as Depo-Provera. However, the general guidelines state that women in the age range of 19-50 need 1000mg of calcium per day. Women over the age of 50 should consume 1200mg. Remember that these numbers can vary based on medication and your lifestyle. Speak with your health care provider for a more accurate dosage.
Which Foods Are a Good Source of Calcium?
People seem to think that dairy is the only source of calcium. While dairy is an excellent source, oranges, dark leafy greens, salmon and even tofu can be great sources of calcium. There are also a number of calcium-fortified foods on the market.
Is There Such a Thing As Too Much Calcium?
Yes. Taking too much calcium can actually leave you feeling quite ill. The side effects of too much calcium range from constipation to fatigue.
As you can see, calcium is a vital nutrient for staying healthy and active for years to come. If you want to help protect your body from the dangers of osteoporosis, you need to make sure your body gets enough calcium early in life and that you continue to eat a diet that has enough calcium to keep your body healthy.
About the Author: Darrick Bernsten works in a women’s health clinic and spends a lot of time searching for educational materials for his patients. He recomments sites like Yeastinfection.org by Eric Bakker and other sites to women who need more information about common disorders.