ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How I Increased My Calcium Intake

Updated on February 18, 2018
Source

Why I Need More Calcium in My Diet

My father had osteoporosis for several years before his death in 2001. My 83 year old mother also has it.

My mom is a tiny person with a large bulge on her upper back. She has of course, shrunk in stature over the past 10 years. She's broken her wrist and had compression fractures in her spine. She took oral medication and nasal inhalers to control pain and increase her calcium intake, but the advance of the disease has continued. Now she takes annual Reclast injections.

My doctor warned me years ago, that I am at high risk for osteoporosis as well. I have a slender build, a family history, I'm white, and female. Now as I approach menopause, my concerns turn to myself and how I can thwart what seems to be inevitable. I've decided to do what I can to increase my calcium, Vitamin D, maintain my activity level, and lift some weights to control what I can.

The Good News First

While I needed to increase my calcium intake, that certainly isn't the only factor that influences my bone health. The good news is that I do have a few things on my side and, if they aren't on yours, you can change them if you want.

I don't smoke or drink alcohol (except on rare occasion).

I seldom consume caffeine; either soft drinks or coffee which can reduce calcium absorption.

I have a good level of physical activity, including weight bearing. I walk, hike, or bicycle regularly. Daily in fact. I'm planning on adding some simple weight lifting to my morning activities as well.

My sugar intake is reasonable.

Source

Some Important Things I Learned About Calcium Absorption

I've known for many years that some foods are higher in calcium of course. Dairy products like yogurt, milk, and cheese, salmon, and vegetables like kale and broccoli.

I also knew that supplements were a good idea, especially if you are particularly at risk, have dietary restrictions that make getting enough calcium difficult, take steroids, and so forth.

I was aware that Vitamin D plays an important role in allowing your body to absorb calcium.

But there were a few details I didn't learn until I recently searched further:

  • Calcium citrate is more readily absorbed than calcium ascorbate and calcium carbonate. The latter are absorbed adequately when taken with a meal however. So it matters which is in your supplement and when you take it.
  • Vitamin D isn't the only other vitamin critical in the absorption of calcium. Vitamin C, E, K, magnesium and boron also help in this process.
  • Your body can not absorb all the calcium in needs in a single dose. It's best to spread out your consumption over the course of the day.
  • Some foods block the calcium you get from other foods.

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation and other sources here are some of the common offenders.

  • Beans (legumes), due to their high phylates block calcium but soaking them does help to reduce this.
  • Salty foods cause the body to loose calcium. So avoiding processed and canned foods might be wise.
  • High oxalate foods such as chocolate, spinach, beet greens, and rhubarb
  • Wheat Bran and other insoluble fiber. (high phylates) So it's best to consume it 2 hours or more before or after calcium
  • Caffeine (soft drinks and coffee)
  • Protein. My research on the topic didn't indicate that protein blocks calcium, but that due to the increased sulfates in your body from the protein more calcium is excreted.


How I'm Trying to Increase My Calcium Intake

Obviously, the best nutritional defense against osteoporosis starts in your early years. When your bones are forming, having a calcium rich diet and getting enough weight bearing exercise helps your bones to develop in to strong ones.

Maintaining this throughout your lifetime is also important. How much calcium your body needs to build and maintain strong bones varies with age and so forth. However, in my case as a woman who will soon be post menopausal, I've found that I need a minimum of 1,200mg of calcium per day.

Certainly, anyone with concerns about osteoporosis should consult with their physician and discuss their diet, perhaps receive a bone scan to check the condition of their bones, and then discuss any supplements if necessary. It can be important not to take in too much Vitamin D or calcium, so physican approval can be critical although exceeding the allowable amount would require you to consume more than twice the recommended level. I'll be having my physician consultation in a few months, but for the past several years, I've been planning ahead.

I began taking a calcium supplement when I turned 40 years old. I don't personally like the idea of taking pills and I'm not convinced that it's the best form of calcium or any other mineral or vitamin. However, as a precaution, I began taking one 600mg pill (with Vitamin D) per day and hope that it's being absorbed.

Now that I'm a bit older I take a multi-vitamin specially formulated for older women that provides the Calcium, vitamin D, Vitamin K and other necessary vitamins and minerals.

I also made some adjustments in my diet to try to get more calcium via the foods I'm eating as I feel this is the best way to assure the calcium is properly absorbed and used by my body. I found that there are a number of foods I enjoy which are rich in calcium. I try to eat a minimum of three of these a day.

These calcium rich foods include:

  • A cup of milk
  • A cup of yogurt
  • A cup of cottage cheese
  • An ounce and a half of cheese (parmesan, Edam, cheddar, or mozzarella are good choices)
  • A small can of salmon with bones
  • A serving of broccoli
  • A handful of sesame seeds (on a salad or alone)
  • A handful of almonds
  • Kale
  • Tofu
  • Green leafy vegetables (not spinach)
  • Calcium and Vitamin D enriched bread, juices, cereals, etc.

These are spaced out over the course of the day. I have milk (6-8 ounces) with my breakfast. I have my own tactic I use is to double the calcium I get from the milk I drink.

  • I learned that the non-fat powdered milk gave me nearly 30% of the calcium I needed for the day.
  • Although I dislike skim milk I found out it has lower fat and calories than whole milk but even more calcium so I began combining it with the powdered milk (rather than using water) which made it richer and more acceptable to me. This doubled the calcium I was getting in a single serving.

Then at lunch time, I have a salad with kale or other greens with sesame seeds or almonds on it.

I use the cheese or small yogurt as a snack (cheese with some apple or yogurt with some berries or pineapple).

I take my vitamin supplement later in the afternoon so that it's between meals and long after I've had my milk. Typically I have a few tiny carrots and hummus or sliced peppers with some dip at the same time.

I usually include either salmon or broccoli in some form at dinner at least every other day.


Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • PaperNotes profile image

      PaperNotes 

      7 years ago

      This is very useful for me because like you, I also have a family background of osteoporosis. Plus I also have a poor posture that my husband has tired of reminding me to straighten my back whenever I sit down in front of my computer to work.

    • 2patricias profile image

      2patricias 

      7 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

      Interesting hub, particularly as Pat has recently researched calcium for a feature on our web site. We have come to the conclusion that people who do not eat dairy products should see their doctor to ask about taking calcium substitute medication. You would have to eat about 2 and 1/2 pounds of brocoli to get the same calcium as from a cup of milk and a serving of yoghurt.

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 

      7 years ago from South Africa

      Interesting. I have been diagnosed with osteoporosis. I am also on a low-cholesterol diet which means that I get less calcium from the normal sources so it is a bit of a challenge.

      Thanks for these tips and ideas.

      Love and peace

      Tony

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      8 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      At 67, my mom fell in her living room on nicely padded carpet and fractured her hip. She was younger than the average age this usually happens. When the Dr. showed me her x-rays her bones looked just like your illustration, almost see-through. She's 84 now and has been taking Actonel for years to help reverse the bone loss. Two hip replacements later she's still hanging in there but she does have serious curvature of the spine.

      With the same build as you and my family history, I fit the profile for osteoporosis and I really should be doing what you suggest here. Thanks for the reminder.

      Your hub was informative and well written!

    • Sandyspider profile image

      Sandy Mertens 

      8 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      My mother doesn't have it, but her mother did. So I could go either way. I have been bad at getting my calcium. Very informative.

    • BrianS profile image

      Brian Stephens 

      8 years ago from Castelnaudary, France

      My wife will find this information useful, she has already started eating some of the food you suggest but there are a few she doesn't know about.

    • profile image

      AndyPo 

      8 years ago

      Excellent article. Very useful information.

    • irenemaria profile image

      irenemaria 

      8 years ago from Sweden

      I must agree with the saying: You learn as long as you live. Thank you for this useful information.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)