Saturday, December 16, 2017 7:20

Calcium Foods

Posted by on Sunday, January 17, 2010, 11:29
This news item was posted in Bones category and has 0 Comments so far.

Of all the body’s minerals, calcium is the most important. We would all be jellyfish without it. It not only gives your bones their sturdiness (as steel does for buildings), but it also serves as a vital participant in innumerable bodily chemical reactions.

It helps muscles contract, the heart to beat, and the brain to think. All in all, your body contains about three and a half pounds of calcium. Clearly, you need the right amount of calcium  foods in your diet and your body. Generally, if you need more calcium foods your gut traps more, and your kidneys excrete less.

But this protective system has many flaws. The calcium in your bones declines at a rate of about 1 to 3 percent per year. Counter strategies may modify this. For instance, countries whose inhabitants consume more dairy products also have citizens with more calcium in their bones.

But diet is only a part of the story. There is almost no osteoporosis in Third World countries not necessarily because of high dairy product intake, but because of the high levels of physical exercise. Fractured hips are a disease of inactivity and diminished calcium intake.

Twenty five million Americans have osteoporosis. Women are particularly at risk, having three to five times as many problems from weak bones as men. The recommended dietary allowance for calcium is 1,500; milligrams per day, the equivalent of three glasses of mi.

Even early in life, however, most of us don’t reach this ideal, so bone loss starts frequently in the 20s, but does not become pronounced enough to result in fractures until the 70s and beyond. Milk and its derivatives are the principal source of dietary calcium, but fish, particularly sardines, and green vegetables (broccoli, spinach) supply it as well.

Unfortunately, calcium  intake tends to decrease as you grow older is is a matter of taste or the of milk i a condition known as lactose intolerance (which results in diarrhea after consumption of a dairy product) is unknown.

In any case, calcium supplementation through any number of food or over the counter products is highly advised. I have treated hundreds of older people, mostly women, with fractured hips. Fractured hips are major nuisances in and of themselves, but more importantly may result in further decreased physical activity and independence, leading to a downward spiral in life quality.

In thinking about how such situations could have been prevented, one truism stands out. Active people don’t break easily. Most hip fractures I encounter are not the result of a big fall, but rather that of an awkward step off a curb or slip off the sofa. Such casual insults end up in 250,000 fractured hips and 500,000 fractured vertebrae every year.

And to add more insult to injury, the rest required after a fracture increases calcium loss by fifty fold. Why risk it?

It is never too late to take calcium and start exercising,and prevent fractures that can hamper your lifestyle.

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