Approximately 65-70% of the bone in your body is calcium.
Our bodies need an adequate amount of calcium on a daily basis to maintain healthy bones and strength. The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends 1200mg of calcium per day for women over age 50.
The best source of calcium is from the food you eat. Dairy products such as low-fat milk and yogurt are great sources of calcium, but dairy products are not the only food sources of calcium. Broccoli and dry cooked beans, some breads, cereals and juices are also fortified with calcium. If you do not get enough calcium from your diet alone, you should take a supplement in order to reach 1200mg of calcium per day.
Vitamin D also plays a major role in bone health. The relationship between Calcium and Vitamin D can be thought of as a lock and key, where Vitamin D is the key that unlocks the door—Calcium. Without Vitamin D, Calcium would not be able to leave the intestinal tract and enter the bloodstream. Vitamin D is formed in the skin with exposure to sunlight. A small amount of sun is usually adequate, but many people’s bodies do not make enough Vitamin D, and taking a Vitamin D supplement is necessary to reach the recommended 800-1000 international units (IU) per day.
Supplements based on dietary intake of Calcium and Vitamin D blood levels will be provided at no cost to women who are randomly assigned to this group. In addition, a 6-month membership voucher to the YMCA or Kroc Center will be issued to women following the completion of her 12-month enrollment in the study.
For further information, please visit the National Osteoporosis Foundation website.