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Calcium For Bone Loss

Not all supplements are equal

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Calcium For Bone Loss

Osteoporosis is a disease that affects the bones. It is characterized by low bone mass and the deterioration of bone tissue. With osteoporosis, bones become more prone to fracture. This is especially important in postmenopausal women; one in four women over the age of 50 has osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is a disease that affects the bones. It is characterized by low bone mass and the deterioration of bone tissue. With osteoporosis, bones become more prone to fracture. This is especially important in postmenopausal women; one in four women over the age of 50 has osteoporosis.

Bone is living tissue. Old bone is broken down by cells called osteoclasts, and new bone matrix is formed by cells called osteoblasts. In order for this process to happen effectively, the diet must provide these cells with the nutrients they need, such as calcium, to form bone.

Calcium choices

There are different forms of calcium available as supplements, and not all forms are created equal. A study of two types of calcium in postmenopausal women (Journal of Reproductive Medicine, 1999) calcium carbonate and calcium microcrystalline hydroxyapatite (MCHC, also called MCHA), found that after two years of continuous administration of these supplements, women who were receiving MCHC calcium demonstrated a better ability to maintain their bone mineral density.

Women who were receiving calcium carbonate showed a bone loss of 3.7 percent while a control group who received only placebo exhibited a bone loss of 5.6 percent.

A four year study in Clinical Drug Investigation (2007), found that the MCHC form of calcium actually increased bone mineral density in postmenopausal women. These studies demonstrate that MCHC calcium may be useful in preventing and improving postmenopausal bone loss.

Calcium chums

Calcium is not the only nutrient that plays a role in bone health. Vitamin D has also been widely researched in terms of bone health. A lab test called 25 (OH)D can assess your vitamin D levels. If the serum level of vitamin D is low, adding vitamin D supplementation with calcium shows further improvement in bone mineral density. 

Magnesium, potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin K are other nutrients that may also play a role in optimizing bone health. To achieve adequate levels of these nutrients, it is important to eat at least five servings of fruit and vegetables each day.

There are many aspects of diet that can play a role in bone health. If a calcium supplement has been recommended for you, keep in mind that not all forms of calcium have the same beneficial effect. It appears that the MCHC form is superior to other forms when it comes to the maintenance of bone mineral density.

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