The US recommended daily allowance (RDA) of calcium is 1000mg per day for pre-menopausal women and 1500mg per day for post-menopausal women.
The actual intake values are much lower than this.
Osteoporosis is the decline of bone mass as we age. To feed the bones optimally, researchers in the Journal of Internal Medicine recommend
- 800mg of Vitamin D with
- 1000mg - 1200mg of Calcium a day.
They write that Vitamin D and Calcium supplementation will especially benefit those who have osteoporosis and also take antiresorptive or anabolic treatment, those who take glucocorticoids, and those with or at risk of calcium or vitamin D deficiencies (like older men and women). (1)
Bone mass is developed in youth when the rate of absorption of calcium is highest. Consider women who take 1332 mg of calcium versus teenage girls who take 1200 mg of calcium. Women absorb only 73mg while the teen girls absorb 326 mg. (Yes, it takes a lot of calcium absorb a small amount!) Yet, girls don't typically get enough calcium in their teen years, and yet a measly 5% increase in bone mass decreases fracture risk by 40%. The lead researcher went so far as to ask young women to consider:
"Picture what you want to look like in 70 years. Do you want to be jogging or in a wheelchair?"
You would think this study by Purdue University researchers would make an impact, and all teen girls would take more calcium! (2)
We can't blame the girls though as even adult women who are diagnosed with osteoporosis or even experience an osteoporosis-related fracture don't change their ways either. In a study of 2631 postmenopausal women, nearly 10% were diagnosed with osteoporosis and half of those women had even had a fracture. Their daily dietary calcium intake was only 754 mg which they principally got from dairy products, far lower than the recommended daily allowance. The women in the study consumed even less as they aged. (3)
The bottomline in bone mass building is feed the bones! Feed them early in life and keep feeding them. Calcium and Vitamin D3 are particularly necessary to make an impact on bone mass. A quality supplement with the best calcium source like calcium citrate may be beneficial for our daughters, our sisters, our mothers and our grandmothers. Talk with your female loved ones today.
- Boonen, S; Vanderschueren, D; Haentjens, P; Lips, P.Calcium and vitamin D in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis - a clinical update. Journal of Internal Medicine 2006;259 (6):539-552
- Purdue University News Services. Teens & Calcium. May 1995. Contact Connie Weaver, (317)494-8237 published as Weaver CM, Martin BR, Plawecki KL, Peacock M, Wood O, Smith DL, and Wastney ME: Differences in calcium metabolism between adolescent and adult females. Am J Clin Nutr 1995;61;577-81
- Fardellone, P; Cotte, FE; Roux, C; Lespessailles, E; Mercier, F; Gaudin, AF: Calcium intake and the risk of osteoporosis and fractures in French women. Joint Bone Spine 2010;77 (2):154-158