Osteoporosis and Calcium

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Category: Metabolic Bone Disease Published on Wednesday, 25 June 2008 Written by Yong Tsai, MD
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I KNOW MOM WAS RIGHT ABOUT DRINKING MY MILK, SO HOW MUCH CALCIUM SHOULD I BE TAKING?

To prevent osteoporosis, adult women and men need 1000mg of calcium a day. While postmenopausal women on estrogen need only 1000mg of calcium daily, those not taking estrogen need 1500mg daily. And as for children, those between one and ten need 800mg, while young adults need 1200mg of calcium daily.

ARE THERE ANY SIDE EFFECTS FROM TAKING CALCIUM SUPPLEMENTS?

Because some people develop constipation, intestinal gas or kidney stones from taking calcium supplements, it is recommended to take them with a full glass of water and in smaller doses several times a day. By doing this, and by never taking more than 600mg of elemental calcium at one time, you will improve its absorption and reduce your chances of constipation.

TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR OSTEOPOROSIS.

Raloxifene (Evista), a SERM used to prevent and treat osteoporosis is a great choice because it binds itself to the estrogen receptors in bones instead of to the breast or uterine tissue. Evista can rebuild bone density in the spine, but not in the hip.   For people with mild osteoporosis who are unable to tolerate other anti-absorptive drugs, Miacalcin, available in nasal spray form, can be rapidly absorbed by the nasal mucosa as treatment, but it cannot prevent osteoporosis.  Neither Evista or Micalcain have been proven to increase bone density in hips, nor neither are recommended in patients with moderate to severe osteoporosis.

So, for patients with moderate to severe osteoporosis, bisphosphonates such as alendronate (Fosamax) and risedronate (Actonel) can significantly increase bone mass in the spine and hips while reducing the risk of vertebral and hip fractures even just after one year of treatment.

HOW DOES VITAMIN D PREVENT OSTEOPOROSIS?

Without enough vitamin D, you body is unable to absorb calcium from the foods you eat, therefore it will have to take calcium from your bones. Produced by either direct exposure to the sunlight or from the foods you eat, your daily calcium intake should be between 400 and 800 IU.  Fortified dairy products such as egg yolks and fish are also great forms of vitamin D.

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