May is National Osteoporosis Month, so I wanted to chat a little bit about this problem that effects (or will in the future) so many of us. Simply put, osteoporosis is a disease that causes weak bones and makes them more likely to break. Now, broken bones are a bummer as it is, but I feel like it’s even more of a bummer when the breaking can happen at random rather than trying to do some risky stunt on a skateboard or something. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation’s website, 1 in 2 women and 1 in 4 men over the age of 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis.
Now, I’m willing to bet that there are plenty of my readers that are well under the age of 50 and are therefore about ready to click out of this post because it doesn’t apply to you. Well, my dear friend, you would be wrong. The best treatment for osteoporosis (as with many other medical conditions, in my opinion) is to prevent all together. Keep in mind, I am not a doctor or medical professional in any way. I’m just a woman trying to survive life in the healthiest (most of the time..) way I can.
While I’m willing to bet osteoporosis isn’t 100% preventable, one of the ways to prevent it to the best of your body’s ability is to make sure you’re getting enough Calcium and Vitamin D in your body daily. Calcium is what makes your bones nice and strong, and Vitamin D helps the body to properly use and absorb the Calcium. While I’m sure there’s more science behind it, that’s generally all you need to know. The recommended daily intake of Calcium according to the National Institute of Health is as follows:
The easiest way to get your daily dose of Calcium is to put Calcium rich foods into your diet. Here are a few food suggestions to get you started.
- Bok Choy
- Milk (low fat or fat free)
Vitamin D is a significantly more difficult to come by via food intake (though not impossible), but never fear, there’s a totally simple way to get your body the Vitamin D it requires. Go outside!! Getting out in the sun causes your body to produce the Vitamin D necessary to help your body function. One of those functions is to use the Vitamin D to help properly absorb Calcium.
While I am usually pretty good about going outside and eating foods high in Calcium, for some reason my body has always had test results come back with low Calcium levels. This has caused me to take daily supplements for my Calcium and Vitamin D needs. I’m pleased to say that since I started supplementing, my levels came back normal, but it was still on the low end of normal, meaning without my supplements, I would not be getting the bone strengthening Calcium and Vitamin D that I need.
Nowadays there are many ways to make taking vitamins and supplements a little more fun, and while I’m usually the “take a hand full of pills and be done with it” kind of gal, for over a year now I’ve been using my Calcium supplement as a bit of a treat rather than another pill.
The most commonly used form of Calcium supplement I’m sure is still in pill form, and there are plenty of great options out there. My personal preference is to enjoy my Calcium supplements in the form of chews. I’ve been using the GNC Caramel Calcium Chews for months now, and I love them. Each chew contains 600 mg of Calcium and 800 IU of Vitamin D. I enjoy 2 chews everyday, and while they feel like a nice little treat, I’m really doing something incredibly good for myself.
A recent, more decadent Calcium supplement discovery of mine is Adora Calcium Supplements. Taking this supplement actually requires you to sit and enjoy a pice or two of chocolate! While they do have a slightly more significant caloric requirement (60 cals for the 2 piece serving), you do get 500mg Calcium and 500 IU Vitamin D in each piece of chocolate. I’ve tried the dark chocolate ones, and they’re actually really tasty. I definitely forget that I’m taking a supplement because it truly feels like a treat. There’s a little warning on the package to remind us that Adora is in fact a supplement and not a candy and it should be treated as such. Having a few extra disks is definitely tempting, but don’t do it.
Whether you get your Calcium exclusively from your diet or if you need a little help and supplement like I do, at the end of the day the bottom line is that your body needs Calcium and Vitamin D to keep your bones nice and strong. Start getting your nutrients in now so as you age osteoporosis is less likely to become an issue for you.
You can find a ton of information on osteoporosis and your body’s nutrient requirements from the links I posted at the beginning of the post or from many other reputable places online.