The Minerals Section
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Calcium Part 2
Everyone that wants to keep their bones strong for life must make sure to get more calcium in the diet as they age.
There are other aspects to aging that can increase the chances of developing osteoporosis. An unhealthy lifestyle that includes smoking, alcohol, and lack of exercise promotes bone loss, and can really start to catch up to you in middle age. Use of some prescription drugs also blocks the absorption of calcium. These include glucocorticoids, such as cortisone, hydrocortisone, prednisone, and dexamethasone. These medicines are very much needed and not at all optional to some sufferers of asthma, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and other medical problems.
However, even small amounts can cause osteoporosis. Drugs used to treat acid reflux, thyroid, and high cholesterol can also block calcium absorption, as can regular use of OTC antacids (although antacids do contain calcium carbonate, they also contain aluminum, which can get absorbed in place of calcium in the bones). If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your physician about the need to take calcium supplements.
Studies have shown that daily amounts of calcium anywhere between 400 and 2000 milligrams are safe and can lower blood pressure and also reduce the risk of developing colon cancer and atherosclerosis (clogged arteries).
There are some people, however, who should probably not take calcium supplements. Calcium interferes with the effectiveness of digitalis and some drugs used to treat epileptic seizures and kidney stones. If you are taking any of these medications, do not take calcium supplements unless prescribed by a physician.
From foods, milk, yogurt, cheese and even ice cream contain the most calcium per serving. However, those individuals that canít or wonít consume dairy products need not despair. Broccoli, greens, beans, nuts, tofu (bean curd), and salmon also contain decent amounts of calcium.
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for calcium is 1,000 milligrams a day, but adults who aer over 51, and women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or menopausalneed up to 1,300 milligrams per day.
People that donít exercise, drink alcohol, smoke, drink a lot of soft drinks, or follow high-protein or high-fat diets should also get more calcium.
Calcium, part 3
Return to Calcium, part 1
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