Why You Need Calcium Supplements No Matter the Age
n estimated 43 percent of the U.S. population takes calcium supplements and 70 percent are women. If you think you only need to take calcium supplements if you’re over 50, think again. Calcium is crucial to bone development and bone and tooth health throughout your life span.
In this blog, you’ll learn:
- Why Calcium Absorption with Vitamin D Matters?
- The Adequate Calcium Intake for Each Life Stage
- Who is at Risk of Calcium Deficiency?
Osteoporosis is the dissolving of bones from loss of calcium. It’s estimated that 10 million Americans currently have osteoporosis and 50 percent of Americans over age 50 will have or develop osteoporosis of the hip by 2020. That’s soon! Here’s why you need calcium supplements no matter the age:
Our bones and teeth store 99 percent of the body’s calcium supply. Calcium absorption is key. Before calcium is absorbed in the bone, it must be absorbed in the body first from diet. The problem is not all calcium gets absorbed in the gut from diet.
Only about 30 percent of dietary calcium gets absorbed in the body in adults. Also, much of the calcium absorbed from diet gets eliminated in urine, feces, and sweat. Calcium absorptiondepends on these factors:
- Age and life stage: The most calcium absorption occurs in infants and children at 60 percent, then decreases to about 15 to 20 percent throughout adulthood, decreasing more as you age.
- Vitamin D intake: Vitamin D increases calcium absorption. Our bodies convert vitamin D into a key hormone called calcitonin. Calcitonin pulls calcium out of the intestines into the bloodstream and deposits it into our bones.
- Calcium with DHA: An important source of Omega-3, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) has been clinically shown to improve calcium absorption, but other fatty acids do not.
- Types of calcium: Calcium compounds absorb differently. Calcium carbonate has the highest element of calcium at 40 percent, but it absorbs slowly. Calcium citrate absorbs the fastest, but contains 21 percent elemental calcium. Calcium lactate is found in most food sources, but contains the lowest elemental calcium of 9 percent.
- Type of diet: Most diets do not meet the daily calcium intake alone. Calcium supplements are better absorbed in the body when taken with a meal.
Calcium absorption and vitamin D are critical over our life span. We need calcium to develop and maintain optimal bone health. Bottom line: The best source of calcium is a mixture of calcium with vitamin D and DHA for better absorption.
Calcium Critical for Bone Development in Children
Calcium is critical during the growth phase from birth to adolescence. Calcium absorption occurs before birth to develop bone tissue. Calcium continues its role in bone development during infancy and childhood to achieve peak bone mass in late adolescence.
Physical activity and higher calcium intake contributes to better bone health during the growth stage. Bone health throughout adolescence is critical because bone mass gained, usually equals the amount lost throughout adulthood.
Calcium Improves Bone Maintenance in Adulthood
As optimal bone mass is reached by the late teens, men and women ages 19-50 need to maintain bone health. In fact, those who take adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D are less likely to experience bone loss later in life and fewer fractures as they age. Adding DHA to this will enhance calcium absorption and provide additional nutrients for eye and brain health.
An increase in physical activity and adequate calcium intake throughout the maintenance stage is crucial to bone health. Remember, osteoporosis is the dissolving of bones. As you age, there is no way to reverse bone loss. As you age, the rate of absorption slows, and your bones begin to lose calcium faster than they absorb it.
Calcium Supports Bone Density in Mature Adults
Due to the body’s natural loss of hormones, calcium intake during mid-life to mature adulthood is crucial to support bone density. In adults ages 50 and older, both men and women should maintain some type of physical activity along with a high calcium intake as they both increase bone density.
A high calcium intake as shown in the graphic above is at least 1200 mg total calcium; combined with diet and calcium supplements. Adults 70 and older are more at risk for bone loss and loss of muscle strength, which increases fractures. Even regular physical activity and calcium supplementation can help reduce musculoskeletal problems and reduce the likeliness of fractures.
While genetics may play a role in bone mass, the average American has a calcium deficiency due to lack of vitamin D, diet and lifestyle. Some people are at a greater risk of calcium inadequacy than others, such as:
- Lactose intolerant individuals: Due to their avoidance of dairy products.
- Vegans or vegetarians: Due to their plant-based diet that contain oxalic and phytic acids that inhibit calcium absorption.
- Smokers: Due to a reduction in bone mass and high risk of fracture.
- Those with medical conditions: Due to their illness and effects from various medical prescriptions.
- Women with reproductive issues: Due to Amenorrhea, the cessation of menstrual periods after puberty and before menopause.
- Postmenopausal women: Due to diminished sex hormones and increased bone loss from lack of calcium absorption.
While both men and women have low calcium intake levels, it’s more prominent in women due to different hormone levels and the way calcium absorbs in their body.
Are you at risk of calcium deficiency? Do you have a vitamin D deficiency? Take the right source of calcium with the best absorption. Shop and learn more about MYLK3™. It’s our newest product that’s lactose-free with all three types of calcium, vitamin D and DHA for better absorption.