Calcium For Every Stage of a Woman's Life

Calcium For Every Stage of a Woman's Life

Calcium has become a buzzword of late. As a woman ages, her need for calcium continues to be in the forefront of her health concerns. Women generally start to experience an increase in the rate of bone loss at around age 30.

We hear about it in our doctor's office, in advertisements and on food labels. We often associate calcium with our childhood years, when we were told to "drink your milk" for strong teeth and bones; or it is considered important during our older years when we become concerned with maintaining strong bones. The reality is that women, whose need for calcium is far greater than their male counterparts, often have not been told how crucial calcium is during every stage of their lives.

Calcium is a mineral that, even before birth, plays a significant role in almost all our body functions, including the development and health of our teeth and bones, and ultimately in protecting the body against debilitating bone loss as we age. The National Institute of Health recommends that, in addition to a healthy diet, adult women have a daily supplemental calcium intake of 1000 to 1200 mg before menopause and 1300 to 1500 mg after menopause.

Although it would be ideal if these recommended amounts could be obtained through the nutrients in the foods we eat, the fact is that most women lead a fast-paced, pressure-packed life that makes this difficult. Women today are choosing multi-vitamin and mineral supplements more than ever before to ensure they get adequate calcium.

SuperNutrition, a scientifically-based vitamin company founded in 1977, tracks research advances in nutritional biochemistry to ensure that their multivitamins contain the highest quality and optimum amounts of vitamins and minerals, including calcium. SuperNutrition's "Women's Blend," a daily multi-vitamin created to meet a woman's unique nutritional requirements, offers a wide array of high potency vital nutrients, including 1,000 mg of calcium.

Michael Mooney, one of SuperNutrition's founders, explained his company's philosophy about recommended daily allowances. "At SuperNutrition, we believe that the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) of vitamins and minerals is no longer adequate for today's busy world, in part because our nutritional needs vary, depending on such things as our weight, age, lifestyle, environmental stresses such as pollution, and our individual genetics. Our multi-vitamin blends deliver the modern optimum dosages. These are the dosages which have been shown in scientific studies to be more effective at promoting overall health than the somewhat antiquated 'just barely enough' amounts in the RDA's."

By way of example, a child's need for calcium begins while still in the womb, so SuperNutrition's "Prenatal Blend," a vitamin for moms-to-be, is enriched with a full 1200 mg of calcium, a dosage shown in scientific studies to improve bone density in newborns by 15 percent. This type of optimum dosage is crucial in getting an infant off to a good start.

According to a statement issued by the National Institutes of Health in December 2001, a "calcium crisis" is affecting American youth. "Only 13.5 percent of girls and 36.3 percent of boys ages 12 to 19 in the United States get the RDA of calcium from their diets." This places them at serious risk for osteoporosis, other bone diseases and stunted growth. Further, research has recently shown that a woman's midlife bones are much stronger if she had adequate calcium intake during her teen years. Because nearly 90 percent of adult bone mass is established by the end of this age range, the nation's youth do indeed stand in the midst of a calcium crisis. There is no doubt that teens need optimum calcium intakes just like adults, and with their busy lives today, a strong calcium-containing multi- vitamin provides easy, fast nutritional protection.

Experts now agree that to protect against this trend, whatever else she is doing, a woman must pay close attention to her diet, especially her calcium intake, and at least three times a week perform regular weight- bearing and resistance exercises, such as swimming and weight lifting, both of which improve calcium absorption and bone mass.

After menopause, when the body produces less estrogen than it did during the reproductive years, women lose between 2 to 5 percent of bone mass per year for about five years, after which the bone loss continues but at a somewhat slower rate that is still more rapid than during the premenopausal years. When the loss of bone density becomes serious, bones become brittle, fragile and are more likely to break during even a minor fall.

According to Dr. Robert Heaney, who has been involved in publishing more than 500 calcium studies since 1962, "the calcium requirement for skeletal maintenance is said to rise with age." Dr. Heaney further states that "supplemented intakes of 1300 to 1700 mg per day have been shown to arrest age-related bone loss and to reduce fracture risk in people 65 and older."

In addition, recent scientific research and government recommendations have raised questions about the effectiveness and potential risks of hormone replacement therapy (HRT), causing many women to look for safe, natural alternatives. SuperNutrition's "Menopause Multiple Blend" is such a safe, natural alternative designed specifically for peri through postmenopausal women. It features all the essential multivitamins and minerals but with the new higher recommended potencies of the key nutrients, like 1500 mg of calcium, that help keep bones strong.