The incidence of osteoporosis increases with age, and is develops at an earlier age in woman than in men. About 55 % of Americans, women more so than men, are at risk of developing osteoporosis. This disease is characterized by a demineralization of the bones, whichbecome porous and fragile, this causing a higher susceptibility to fractures.
Bone is largely calcium in nature, and if demineralization were the issue, than common sense would dictate that increasing dietary intake of calcium would arrest, reverse or at least minimize the ravages of this illness. For years, physicians recommended increase in dietary calcium as the principal intervention in this illness.
It is only now becoming more obvious that calcium intake is but one of many nutritional concerns that must be addressed in order to effectively treat osteoporosis. Many factors, including age, menopausal status, total calcium, vitamin K2 and vitamin D intake, as well as consumption of cigarettes, saturated fats, alcohol, and cola proved to be linked to a lower bone mineral density.
FACT #1: The human adult requires approximately 200 mg of elemental calcium per day, and if absorption is between 20% and 40%, the nutritional allowance is approximately 1,000 mg per day. Too much calcium causes more immediate problems involving muscle and nerve. These regulatory mechanisms modulate the absorption of calcium. That is, calcium in excess of 1,200 mg or so will cause the body to reduce the percentage absorbed. While this would appear to be wasteful’ of an inexpensive nutrient, the real cost is that the excess calcium competes with absorption of other micronutrients, resulting in poor absorption of these.
Too much of a good thing is, in fact, a very bad thing. Calcium ingestion in excess of the requisite amount reduces rates of absorption of calcium, thereby limiting the calcium burden in the vascular system. That is, increasing dietary calcium past a fairly modest level actually inhibits the absorption of magnesium and strontium, both essential for development and maintenance of bone.
FACT #2: Taking a properly balanced mineral supplement minimizes the danger of ‘overdoing it.’
FACT #3: Most commercially available vitamin/mineral supplements are worthless because they present the minerals in a poorly absorbed, inorganic form. This is done so that the manufacturer can provide a ‘1-tablet solution’ to fit all of your needs.