Calcium is important for our bone health to help prevent osteoporosis as we get older.
Osteoporosis is common in women after menopause as estrogen levels drop during menopause which can result in increased bone loss.
Yet here at Revivele we’ve carefully chosen not to include calcium in our supplement system for women and we’re sharing why calcium supplements can sometimes do more harm than good, even for perimenopausal, menopausal and postmenopausal women.
In this article learn:
- Why over-the-counter supplements of calcium may lead to medical complications
- Healthier and more effective ways to get a daily dose of calcium into your system
Read on to learn more about the role of calcium in your health.
|Key Takeaways: Of the 10 million Americans with osteoporosis, 80% are women. 1 in 5 women develop osteoporosis after age 50 compared to only 1 in 20 men. Calcium supplementation can lead to an increased cardiovascular risk. There are healthier ways to prevent osteoporosis through diet and activity vs. calcium supplementation|
Maintaining bone health without supplements?
Supplements exist to provide our bodies with highly important nutrients that can’t easily be incorporated through diet and lifestyle alone.
Calcium is a mineral that is readily available for most women without taking supplements. There are a variety of ways to maintain bone health through a mix of the following:
- A healthy diet of calcium-rich foods,
- An active lifestyle,
- Weight-bearing exercises,
- Vitamin K intake,
- and regular Vitamin D intake
Medical concerns regarding calcium supplements
When it comes to calcium supplements, there is discussion in medical communities about the increased risk of mortality when taking unprescribed, medically unnecessary over-the-counter calcium supplements.
Here are some of the concerns expressed by medical experts that helped guide our decision not to use calcium in our own supplement line:
- Calcium ingested through a pill won’t break down in the body the same way that calcium-rich foods will, which may lead to medical complications.
- Women’s health studies show a relationship between calcium supplements and an increased cardiovascular risk of 20% due to plaque buildup in the blood and arteries caused by too much calcium through over-the-counter supplements.
Watch this video to learn more about the relationship between calcium supplements and an increase in women’s mortality rates.
But what about osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis, otherwise known as the “silent disease” is the gradual weakening of bone tissues as we age which can result in bones becoming fragile, and breaking more easily.
Although anyone can develop osteoporosis as they get older, far more women than men develop the disease.
One in five women develop osteoporosis after the age of 50, compared to only one in twenty men.
The hormonal changes women experience during menopause weaken bone density, leaving them much more likely to develop the disease.
Osteoporosis treatment and calcium intake
There are various forms of treatment for osteoporosis – including a healthy, active lifestyle, a diet rich in calcium, and taking care to prevent falls that could damage weakened bones. When needed, there is also a class of medications called bisphosphonates that are used to treat osteoporosis.
We have all been taught that calcium is important for boosting bone density and tooth health.
Yet, calcium also helps with other vital bodily functions such as muscle contraction, maintaining regular heart rhythms, and blood clotting.
When our bodies aren’t getting enough calcium through diet, they may draw from the calcium stored in our bones, which can lead to bone density deterioration.
Here are 3 ways to improve and maintain bone health
There are healthy ways to increase your calcium intake without needing to rely on over-the-counter supplements.
Supporting healthy bones through diet
Most of us were raised to know that milk and other dairy products can be a good source of calcium – but dairy is not the only way to increase calcium intake through diet. Plus, consuming too much processed dairy can bring its own host of health challenges.
Many other foods can be relied upon to boost your calcium intake.
Vegetables like winter squash, edamame, and leafy greens (like kale, bokchoy, spinach and turnip) are all packed full of calcium and deliver other nutrients to your body.
Almonds, canned sardines, tofu (made with calcium sulfate) and salmon (with bones) are also other great sources of calcium.
If you’re looking for more inspiration for calcium rich foods, take a look at this list of 22 calcium-rich foods to incorporate into your diet.
Improving bone health through exercise
Did you know that regular exercise can increase your bone density?
While you still need to ensure that your daily diet includes calcium-rich foods, exercise is a great benefit to keeping our bones healthy.
Regular activity encourages our bones to add new layers of bone to increase density.
The best forms of exercise for bone health are:
- Strength training: Using resistance bands, free weights or your own body weight will help maintain bone density.
- Weight-bearing activities: Aerobic exercise on your feet like dancing, stair climbing and walking, work on the bones in your legs vs. swimming which is a great form of exercise but doesn’t provide the weight-bearing load your bones need to slow down mineral loss.
Balance choosing the right form of exercise for bone health with safety (your ability) and your own personal interests.
Exercise is also an important way to improve or maintain your brain health as you get older.
Learn more about your brain health in this article: 5 Ways to Keep Your Brain Healthy.
Using vitamins D and K2 to maximize calcium absorption
It’s always important to remember that your body is a system, with many different elements working together to support your overall health.
Ensuring that you’re getting the right vitamins and nutrients is just one part of the puzzle. Healthy nutrient absorption is also within your control both by maintaining your digestive health and pairing the right vitamins and nutrients together to optimize absorption.
For calcium, it’s important to get enough vitamin D and vitamin K2 – both of which support the absorption of calcium, transporting it to your bones, rather than depositing it in your arteries. Both of these vitamins work together to metabolize calcium in your body, with vitamin D focusing on maximizing absorption levels, and vitamin K2 distributing calcium to where it needs to go – your bones.
While making smart dietary decisions is the best way to support nutrient absorption in your body, there are many vitamins and nutrients less readily accessible through diet and lifestyle choices that Revivele is working to make available in healthy supplements – coming soon.
Taking specific supplements on a daily basis can help to improve a number of overall health and wellbeing factors that directly affect how you function on a day-to-day basis.
As always, talk to your doctor before taking supplements to find out which ones may be right for you.