Calcium & Vitamin D ~ An Essential Element for Bone Health

Calcium & Vitamin D ~ An Essential Element for Bone Health
Importance of Calcium There is strong and convincing evidence that calcium is important for building strong bones in childhood, maintaining bone density in adults, and reducing the likelihood of fractures as we age.

Calcium is crucial for life. Every cell in the body needs calcium to function properly. Heart, Nerve and Muscles all need calcium for their activity. Bones need calcium to maintain strength. 99 % of body calcium is in the bones.

Our Body gets calcium from food we eat. If dietary source is deficient in calcium, our body gets it from our bones.

Calcium is essential for bony health for number of reasons. In childhood it is needed for proper formation of bony skeleton to support growing body. By the age 20 bones stop growing in length and by this time peak bony mass is reached. The density of your bones at this point will depend, in part, upon the extent of your calcium intake as a child. The greater this peak bone mass, the less likely your bones are to become porous and fragile later on.

Bone is living tissue, constantly renewing itself. Daily wear and tear causes structural defects which need to be taken care of. This process in the bones is termed as Bone remodelling. Remodelling is an ongoing, natural process and the cycle is completed every three to four months in a healthy young adult. With age this maintenance system becomes less efficient. In people who have relatively healthy bones, adequate calcium intake can help the remodelling process stay balanced. This means that replacement of new bone will remain more efficient, thus preventing a rapid decline in density.
Calcium and Menopause
Calcium is especially important at menopause because calcium absorption seems to slow down with the decrease in estrogen.
How Much Calcium Do You Need?
Following nutritional intake of calcium every day is essential, to maintain strong bones.

Recommended Daily Calcium Intake

 Infants
birth-6 months – 400 mg / day
6-12 months – 600 mg / day
   Children
1-5 years – 800 mg / day
6-11 years – 800-1200 mg / day
Adolescents & Young adults
11-24 years – 1200-1500 mg / day
Women
25-50 years – 1000 mg / day
Pregnant or lactating women – 1200-1500 mg / day
Postmenopausal women on estrogen – 1000 mg / day
Postmenopaural women not on estrogen – 1500 mg / day
Men (25-50 years) – 1000 mg / day
All women and men above 65 - 1500 mg / day
Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Calcium?No adverse effects have been observed in people who consume well above the recommended daily intake of calcium (up to 2500 mg per day). A high dietary intake of calcium used to be suspected of increasing the risk of kidney stones, but most experts now believe that this is incorrect.

Osteoporosis

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