Your Guide To Doctors, Health Information, and Better Health!
Your Health Magazine Logo
The following article was published in Your Health Magazine. Our mission is to empower people to live healthier.
Andrea Smith, CHHC, LMT
Calcium 101 For Women
Andrew M. Sklar, DDS, PC

Calcium 101 For Women

Part 1

The primary importance of calcium for women is its function in the development and maintenance of strong bones. Ninety-nine percent of your body's calcium is stored in your bones and teeth. This makes up your bone “bank”. Throughout a woman's lifetime, calcium is “deposited” in and “withdrawn” from her bone bank, depending on her needs.

If you don't consume enough dietary calcium and your “bank” is low, your body will “withdraw” the calcium it needs from your bones to maintain calcium levels in the blood. Over time, if more calcium is taken out of your bones than is put in, it can result in thin, weak bones that may break more easily. This can quietly lead to osteopenia and osteoporosis, which literally means “porous bones” or bones lacking in minerals and mass. The first bones to go are the jawbone and vertebra in the back, which is why older people lose their teeth and height.

But calcium is not just for your bones. It is also essential for supporting some of the body's critical functions such as controlling blood pressure and maintaining ones heart beat. Calcium helps your muscles work properly and more comfortably and is needed to keep weight off. It can help with symptoms of PMS and control mood swings, calm feelings of irritability, lessen breast tenderness and reduce cravings for sweets during your menstrual cycle. Calcium also helps prevent formation of polyps which may lead to colon cancer.

The preferred way to get adequate calcium is through a healthy, well-balanced diet. Most individuals can easily get at least half of the calcium they need from food with a good supplement providing the rest. While the first food source that usually comes to mind is dairy products, this is not the only, nor necessarily the best, source, especially if a woman is lactose intolerant, vegan vegetarian, allergic, or just doesn't like milk.

Consider getting some of your calcium from greens like turnip, collard and mustard greens, Swiss chard, kale, broccoli, cabbage, spinach, basil, thyme, celery, fennel, and green beans or, a handful of almonds. Sardines and red salmon can offer a whopping 250-300mg per half cup serving and calcium fortified orange juice 320mg/cup.

The amount of calcium a woman should get per day ranges from 1000mg-1500mg, depending on her age group, hormonal state, and any medications she is on. Many common antacids and acid blockers (like Maalox and Prilosec), aspirin, steroids, and thyroid meds can deplete your body of calcium and increase your need to supplement.

We will discuss supplementation next time, in Part 2.

MD (301) 805-6805 | VA (703) 288-3130