Calcium is understood by virtually the entire medical profession as an essential mineral for bone health, as well as playing an essential role in a multitude of other body functions; These include regulating heartbeat, conducting nerve impulses, stimulating hormonal secretions, and clotting the blood. There is, however, a growing body of misinformed literature, and even some potentially misleading research findings (or at least misunderstood because of the way in which they are presented to the general public) which are threatening the health of human populations in regards to calcuium intake.
One factor that a study, published by the Women’s Health Initiative, got right was that the government’s recommended daily dosage is necessary to receive the benefits associated with calcium consumption and supplementation. Yet more than half of the study participants did not adhere to the recommended calcium supplementation, making improvements in bone density a nearly impossible result. Meanwhile, those that did comply experienced a whopping 29 percent lower risk of hip fractures.
Americans, both young and old, are failing to meet calcium intake requirements and the incidence of osteoporosis is climbing. During the adolescent and teenage years, when 45 percent of bone mass is formed, meeting calcium requirements is essential. According to the Journal of Pediatrics, however, only 10 percent of teenage girls and only 30 percent of teenage boys are getting adequate calcium in their diet, which places them at serious risk of host of health issues beginning with stunted growth, bone disease, and eventually osteoporosis.
Calcium-rich foods are not hard to come by, and include everyday things that we eat: virtually all dairy products as well as any green, leafy or cruciferous vegetables – yet incorporating adequate amounts into a modern, hectic lifestyle, regardless of age, is often very challenging. Calcium-fortified foods and supplements, however, can fill the gap.
“It’s very important that people do take a supplement if they’re not getting enough calcium in their diet,” says Nicholina Galinsky, R.N. “Unfortunately, most of us are not aware that we have osteoporosis until we break a bone.”