Women’s Calcium Needs
Why does a woman need more calcium? The average woman’s skeletal bone mass is less than her male counterpart. So, loss of even small quantities of calcium may make women prone to osteoporosis or have weak bones.
Sex hormones are important to help calcium and other minerals to stay in the bones. But with menopause, women abruptly lose this privilege and the bones start losing the minerals. Though this happens to men as well, it happens very gradually.
A healthy balanced diet is an integral part of our wellbeing. Even though this applies to each one of us, there are some special situations whereby the balanced diet for one, may be different from that of another.
A balanced diet for pregnant or breast feeding women are different from that of women not pregnant. The average post- menopausal woman’s balanced diet is and should be different from that of men of the same age group.
Calcium is necessary for several important functions of the body like those of our nervous system etc. It is also an important part of our skeletal system where a large amount of calcium is in stock. If the diet is deficient in calcium, the body uses calcium present in the bones to perform more important functions of the body and thus causes the weakening of the bones.
The other reasons for weak bones are hormonal deficiencies and not having enough bone stock in the body. So, it is important to build up enough bone stock up to the age of 30 and to maintain it with adequate calcium intake and exercise.
Hence, it is important to maintain adequate intake of calcium with sufficient amounts of vitamin D to help maintain bone quality. So, how much calcium does an average woman need per day? It is said that from the third to fifth decade of a woman’s lite, the requirement is about 1000 mg per day, with an increase in the quantity during pregnancy and lactation.
However, dunng and after the sixth decade of lite, this requirement goes up to about 1200mg. But one should remember that this ¡s the total daily requirement. If a woman’s diet ¡s rich in dairy products, which are capable of fulfilling this requirement, then no supplements are required at all,
However, in the elderly, due to reduction in their general diet quantity per day, they may not meet this requirement and hence need supplementation.
There is a misconception that calcium intake leads to stones in the kidneys and many patients do not follow their doctor’s advice, due to this fear. But it should be known that it is very difficult to poison ourselves with excess intake of calcium and it may happen only when too much of vitamin D is also consumed.
One should add natural calcium content in the diet and any supplements taken to get the total amount consumed. Our intestines form a barrier against excess absorption of calcium and it may cause constipation. But again, the absorption in the stomach is dependent on the type of calcium salt we take and many food items also interfere with calcium absorption. So, it is recommended to quell all fears and to take the right calcium supplements.