Friday, April 5, 2013

Article # 452. Calcium & Vitamin D Daily Requirements for Osteopenia

Osteopenia is a diagnosis, but it is also a symptom. Osteopenia is a warning that your bones are becoming fragile and weak. If left untreated, your osteopenia could lead to an osteoporosis diagnosis. This means your bones are becoming porous and the structure inside of your bones is diminishing, which leaves your bones susceptible to fracture. Getting the right nutrients, especially calcium and vitamin D, can help prevent osteopenia from developing into osteoporosis.
The Role of Calcium
Your body contains 99 percent of the calcium it stores inside your bones and teeth, states the National Osteoporosis Foundation. Calcium keeps your bones strong and healthy. Your body treats your bones like a savings account of calcium. If your diet is lacking calcium and it is needed elsewhere, your body takes the calcium from your bones. It is therefore essential for your intake of calcium to match your body's needs; otherwise, you risk the health of your bones.
Calcium Requirements
Your calcium needs vary according to your age. No matter if you have osteopenia or not, your body requires a minimum calcium intake. For those 50 years old and under, intake should be 1,000 mg per day. Adults over the age of 50 need to take in 1,200 mg per day. This is especially vital for aging women. Women are at higher risk for developing osteoporosis than are men. After menopause, their risk of osteoporosis increases substantially because of a reduction in the production of estrogen. Your needs may differ from these recommendations. Speak with your doctor concerning the best amount of calcium for your condition.
Role of Vitamin D
Low levels of vitamin D are correlated with a lower bone mass density, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation. Vitamin D plays a major role in the health of your bones by influencing your body's absorption of calcium. Vitamin D encourages calcium absorption by your small intestine. It also helps regulate the buildup of new bone and breakdown of old bone.
Vitamin D Requirements
The National Osteoporosis Foundation gives vitamin D recommendations that vary by age as well. Adults under the age of 50 should take in between 400 and 800 International Units of vitamin D per day. Those over 50 need to increase to between 800 and 1,000 IU per day. These are just recommendations; speak with your doctor about the best amount for your state of health.

Dietary sources are the best way to get the vitamins and minerals you need. Sources of calcium go beyond just milk. You can also find calcium inside leafy green vegetables, dried beans, yogurt and cheese.
Your body has a unique way of taking in the vitamin D it needs. Through exposure to the sun's rays, your body can absorb and make vitamin D. Just 5 to 30 minutes of sunlight per day in the late morning and early afternoon hours can be enough. Dietary sources of vitamin D include milk, fish and fortified juice.


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