What Can Women Do To Protect Their Bone Health
Jeri Shuster, M.D., is a Board Certified gynecologist at Mercy Physicians at Broken Land Parkway located in Columbia, MD. She has been caring for the women of Howard County for more than three decades. In response to a query from Happify.com, Dr. Shuster offers these insights concerning older women and bone health.
Recommendations from National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF.org) and Jeri Shuster, M.D.:
Recent media reports and studies have left many confused about calcium supplements and their effect on the heart. While some studies have suggested a possible link between calcium supplements and heart-related problems, substantial evidence supports that taking the recommended amount of calcium supplements poses no risk to the heart.
What we know is that experts agree getting enough calcium is critical for bone health and overall health. And we also know that osteoporosis medications don’t work without calcium and vitamin D. NOF recommends the following three steps for bone health: Aim to get the recommended daily amount of calcium you need from food first and supplement only as needed to make up for any shortfall.
Calcium supplements are absorbed best when taken with food, particularly protein, and when taken with Vitamin D. Take in divided doses and do not exceed 600mg of calcium per meal. You may wish to use the calcium calculation tool and list of calcium-rich foods at NOF.org to estimate your daily calcium intake from foods and for new ideas to help you incorporate calcium in your diet.
Maintain an overall healthy lifestyle by eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, exercising and not smoking or drinking too much alcohol. NOF recommends that women age 50 and younger get 1,000 mg of calcium from all sources daily and that women age 51 and older get 1,200 mg.
And don’t forget about vitamin D, which enables your body to absorb calcium. Most adults under age 50 need 400-800 international units (IU) daily and most adults age 50 and older need 800-1,000 IU daily. Some people need more vitamin D to maintain healthy blood levels of the vitamin, so your MDs monitor your vitamin D level.
Remember, regardless of what you hear or read, always talk to your healthcare provider about your individual needs for calcium and vitamin D and never stop taking your supplements without talking to our office first.
Dr. Jeri Shuster is specially trained in the care of routine and complex gynecologic diagnoses, from well-woman care to endometriosis, uterine bleeding and fibroids. Dr. Shuster has a particular interest in menopause, as well as osteoporosis and hormone replacement therapy.
Founded in 1874 in downtown Baltimore by the Sisters of Mercy, Mercy Medical Center is a 183-licensed bed acute care university-affiliated teaching hospital. Mercy has been recognized as a top Maryland hospital by U.S. News & World Report; a Top 100 hospital for Women’s Health & Orthopedics by Healthgrades; is currently A-rated for Hospital Safety (Leapfrog Group), and is recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Magnet Hospital. Mercy Medical Center is part of Mercy Health Services (MHS), the parent of Mercy’s primary care and specialty care physician enterprise, known as Mercy Personal Physicians, which employs more than 200 providers with locations in Baltimore, Lutherville, Overlea, Glen Burnie, Columbia and Reisterstown. For more information about Mercy, visit www.mdmercy.com, MDMercyMedia on Facebook, Twitter, or call 1-800-MD-Mercy.