Nutritional Synergy to Improve Your Bone Density

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, you are at increased risk of osteoporosis if match any following item:
1.    You are female.
2.    You are older than fifty.
3.    You have a family history of the disease
4.    You have a personal history of fractures as an adult
5.    You are Caucasian or Asian.
6.    You are small-boned and weigh less than 127 pounds.
7.    You smoke cigarettes.
8.    You drink too much alcohol.
9.    You consume too little calcium
10.   You get little or no weight- bearing exercise.

Certain risk factors, such as age, gender, and genetics, are not subject to change, others, such as tobacco and alcohol use, diet, and exercise, are known as modifiable risk factors, things you have the power to change, if you are still smoking, stop already!

Getting calcium from food improves your bone density more than taking it as a supplement, probably because of other micro- nutrients in the food and a little thing called synergy. Synergy means that the parts of things, taken together, are really equal to more than the whole. In other words, you can't just pull out one ingredient and get the same benefit.  Actually a well-balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D contributes to the health of your bones and works synergistically to make your skeleton stand strong and tall.

The human body requires more calcium than any other min­eral. The adult human body contains about 1,000 to 1,200 mg (milligrams) of calcium, with at least 99 percent of the calcium found in the bones and teeth, giving them strength and rigidity. Getting enough calcium from food or supplements is essential because the human body doesn't produce it. Every day that your body doesn't absorb enough calcium to meet its needs, your body "borrows" calcium from your bones to support the proper func­tioning of your heart, muscles, and nerves and for blood to clot. If this net loss continues day after day, your bone density will steadily decline over time, increasing your risk of osteoporosis.

The amount of calcium that your body can absorb from your digestive tract into your body's circulation depends on several factors including:
1) Vitamin D intake: Adequate vitamin D intake from food and sunlight must be present for calcium absorption.
2) Age: It is very important to maintain strong and dense bones to minimize the effects of calcium loss after age forty.
3) The bioavailability of the foods you consume.
Bioavailability determines how much of the calcium you consume is actually absorbed and utilized by your body. In the United States, milk, yogurt, and cheese arc the major contributors of calcium in the typical diet. (Nonfat and low-fat dairy products have the same amount of calcium as the full-fat variety.

Some vegetables naturally contain phytic acid or oxalic- acid, which are substances that can interfere with optimal calcium absorption. While these substances do not affect the absorption of other calcium-containing foods eaten at the same time, you may have to eat several servings of foods, such as spinach, sweet potatoes, and beans (soy­beans are better absorbed), to obtain the same amount of calcium as is present in one cup of milk.
 Following are some good food sources of absorbable calcium:
Plain low-fat yogurt (1 cup)............................. 448 mg
Sardines, canned in oil (3 ounces)................... 324 mg
Milk, skim (1 cup)......................................... 316 mg
Cheese, mozzarella, part skim (1.5 ounces)........ 310 mg
Orange juice, calcium fortified (1 cup).............. 300 mg
Soy milk, calcium fortified (1 cup).................... 300 mg
Before adding a calcium supplement to your diet, consider your total daily intake of calcium from all foods, including those fortified with calcium. The UL (tolerable upper limit) for calcium is 2,500 mg per day.
It may be necessary to take supplements to ensure that you meet your daily calcium requirement. Sources of calcium exist in nature only in combination with other substances. These substances are called compounds, or calcium salts. The two best calcium supplements arc calcium carbonate and calcium citrate. Both types arc readily available, contain large amounts of ele­mental calcium, and dissolve well in the body. Remember that

From supplements is best when the supplement is taken in doses of 500 mg or less throughout the day, with meals. Experts discovered this last bit of advice the hard way. Like many postmenopausal women, taking calcium and doing weight- bearing exercise to stave osteoporosis. Alter having several normal bone density tests, over several years, the experts were surprised to have a test that reported osteopenia, which while not a disease does indicate low bone density and can lead to osteoporosis. After consulting with my doctor, I learned that I was mistakenly taking my daily 1,500 mg dose of calcium all at once, instead of spreading it out over the day in doses of no more than 500 mg. What a difference that made! The next year I was back in the normal range for bone mineral density.
Vitamin D is manufactured in your skin through exposure to ultraviolet rays from sunlight and is necessary for the absorp­tion of up to 65 percent of calcium. Like calcium, vitamin D levels decline with age, with bone loss generally greater in the winter. The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends that women age fifty or under get 400 to 800IU of vitamin D per day and that women fifty or older get 800 to 1,000 IU. Good sources of vitamin D are fortified milk, egg yolks, saltwater fish, liver, and supplements.
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