We can also help prevent osteoporosis by making sure we are getting enough calcium in our diets. We use the following guidelines for daily calcium intake when working with our patients (your needs may vary based on your physician's recommendations):
- Premenopausal woman - 1000 mg
- Pregnant or lactating woman - 1200 mg
- Postmenopausal woman not on estrogen - 1500 mg
- Postmenopausal woman on estrogen replacement - 1200 mg
Calcium intake is most important during the growing years - when we can make deposits into the calcium "bank account," so to speak. If you have any young folks in your life, here are the recommendations for daily calcium intake for their growing bones:
- 0-6 months - 210 mg
- 7-12 months - 270 mg
- 1-3 years - 500 mg
- 4-8 years - 800 mg
- 9-18 years - 1300 mg
To reach the recommended levels of calcium intake, the first place to look is our diets. Examples of foods which are high in calcium include milk, yogurt, cheese, sardines with bones, almonds, seeds, beans, green leafy vegetables and calcium-fortified orange juice. As it is not always easy to get enough calcium from diet alone, many adults end up using a daily calcium supplement as well. Supplements are typically taken in 500 mg tablets spaced apart during the day to enhance absorption. Calcium carbonate and calcium citrate are common calcium supplements.
For good bone health, it's also important to have an adequate daily intake of vitamin D and vitamin K. It can be challenging to get enough vitamin D from diet alone, especially in the winter, so a daily vitamin D supplement is often recommended as well.