There are so many ways that one can and should be healthy. One area that we tend to neglect is our skeletal system, until it becomes problematic. Not to single out women, but after menopause you are 10 times more likely to have a fracture due to osteoporosis. This is mainly attributed to decreasing estrogen levels. A sad and startling statistic is that 25% of women over 50 will die within one year of hip fracture. It is important to know that your skeleton is at peak density and mass between 20-30 years of age. After this time you are not able to pack on any more bone, but just sustain what you have. Therefore, it is crucial for us to eat a healthy diet and give ourselves the best start to ensure a great finish. As young adults we take advantage of our youth and it is important to note that our bodily functions and skeletal system will never work as well as they did during these years.
Most of us only think of our skeleton when we hit our “funny bone” or bang our shin on the desk. We think of it as this hard rigid non-living compound used to keep us erect. Bone; however is a dynamic tissue and a metabolically active organ that is constantly changing. We remove and replace our bone all day every day until after ten years in adult hood we have a completely new skeleton. Pretty neat huh?!
Bone is composed primarily of calcium and phosphate salts. “Our body contains about 1000 grams of calcium, of which 9 grams is in soft tissues, 1 gram is in our body fluid and the remainder is in bone.” (Opinder 2000) This means that 99 percent of our calcium lives in our bones. Calcium is important, yet it is not everything our skeletal system needs. So I will leave this paragraph with an equation that we will revisit:
Calcium + X = Bone Health
If you already know what the “X” is then you are already on your way to healthy bones and a fracture free life.
So we now know that it is important to have calcium in our diet throughout our whole lives and not just when we get older. However, calcium is just part of the equation to a healthy skeleton. Research states that just taking calcium alone does not decrease your risk for fracture. So what is that X factor? The X in the equation is Vitamin D and exercise. Give yourself a pat on the back from me if you already knew this. The research shows that if you take 1.2 grams of calcium and 800IU of Vitamin D daily over an 18 month period then you have a 43% reduction in hip fractures and a 32% reduction in the total number of non-vertebral fractures in [post menopausal women]. (Chapuy et al. 1994) Calcium alone or vitamin D alone has shown very inconsistent data in preventing fracture.
If you are concerned about your bone health the best thing you can do is stay active, eat healthy, and take Calcium in conjunction with Vitamin D and exercise. That being said, all Calcium supplements and Vitamin D supplements are not created equal. I recommend buying Calcium in the form of Calcium Citrate Malate and Vitamin D in the form of Vitamin D3. These are the most bioavailable forms of these two supplements. Bioavailability increases how much your digestive tract can absorb and use these nutrients. As always when buying a supplement, you get what you pay for. If you need sources or assistance in finding these supplements please contact me and I will help you get in touch with a wonderful product.