Mayo Clinic: Should all postmenopausal women take calcium
supplements to prevent osteoporosis, or are there other things
I can do to prevent it? Also, I know caffeine is bad for bone
health, but can eating a high-protein diet also hurt my bones?
Calcium is crucial for long-term bone health. A calcium
supplement is not always necessary, though. You may be able to
get the calcium you need from your diet. Along with calcium,
getting enough vitamin D and regularly engaging in
weight-bearing aerobic and strengthening exercises also can
protect your bones.
body regularly makes new bone and breaks down old bone. When
youíre young, your body makes new bone faster than it breaks
down old bone, and your bone mass increases. Most people reach
their peak bone mass in their mid-20s to mid-30s. The higher
your peak bone mass, the more bone you have to sustain bone
health throughout the rest of your life.
risk rises with age because as you get older, you lose bone
faster than your body can make it. Osteoporosis can occur when
the bodyís creation of new bone can no longer keep up with
the breakdown of old bone. Bones may become weak and brittle
and are easily broken.
near the age of menopause are particularly vulnerable to bone
loss. On average, in the three years around menopause ó one
year before the last menses and two years after it ó women
go through a rapid phase of bone loss, losing about 2 percent
of overall bone mass each year during that time.
enough calcium in your diet throughout your life can help keep
your bones healthy. Women between the ages of 18 and 50 need
about 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day. That increases to
1,200 milligrams when women turn 50. Good sources of calcium
include low-fat dairy products, dark green leafy vegetables,
canned sardines with bones, canned salmon and soy products.
Many cereals and juices are also calcium-fortified.
canít get enough calcium in your diet, your doctor may
recommend a supplement. Donít take a calcium supplement
before checking with your doctor first. Too much calcium can
lead to other health concerns, especially kidney stones.
is an important part of your diet and is vital for good
health. But taking in high amounts of protein every day can
cause your body to lose calcium. Caffeine in large amounts may
also make it hard for your body to retain calcium. If youíre
concerned about the amount of protein or caffeine in your
diet, talk with your doctor.
D is necessary for your body to absorb calcium. Many people
can get enough vitamin D from sunlight, but it depends on many
factors and varies with the seasons. Your doctor can check a
blood test to determine your vitamin D level. If itís too
low, you may need a supplement. The recommended dietary
allowance of vitamin D is 600 international units daily, until
age 70, when 800 international units is recommended. The upper
limit of vitamin D intake is 4,000 international units a day.
exercise may help slow bone loss. A combination of
strength-training exercises with weight-bearing exercises is
usually best. Strength training helps strengthen muscles and
bones in your arms and upper spine. Weight-bearing exercises
ó such as walking, jogging, running, stair climbing,
skipping rope or skiing ó have a positive effect on the
entire skeleton, and particularly benefit the bones in your
legs, hips and lower spine. Balance exercises such as tai chi
can help reduce the risk of falls, which cause most bone
with the other suggestions already mentioned, to ensure the
best bone health, postmenopausal women should limit alcohol to
no more than one drink a day. And finally, for many health
reasons, including protecting against bone loss, donít