Calcium supplements are extremely important for women going into Perimenopause, as the natural drop in oestrogen affects your bone density. This is why many women approaching menopause suddenly break an ankle or arm doing something innocuous out of the blue.
In fact research states that about HALF of all women over the age of 60 will experience a fracture due to osteoporosis. Half! That's why taking calcium is so important to women's health.
Calcium isn't just good for our bones, it is also vital in our body for:
Healthy functioning nerves and muscle tissues
Transmission of nervous system messages
Although you can get all of your calcium needs from foods, perimenopausal women should take an additional calcium supplement to ensure good bone health. Because if your body doesn't get the calcium it requires, your body will remove the calcium it needs from the skeleton, making our bones weak and brittle.
What is the Daily Recommended Intake of Calcium?
The average woman aged 19 to 50 years old should consume 1000mg of calicum per day, and women over 50 should increase their calcium intake to 1300mg of calcium per day. Although sourcing your calcium from foods is always the best way to go, that isn't always practical. That's why every woman over 40 should take a daily calcium supplement.
How Do I Know I'm Not Getting Enough Calcium?
There are a few ways to tell when your body isn't getting the calcium it requires; you could have symptoms such as:
More muscle spasms and cramps than usual
Tingling in the arms and legs
To accurately gauge your level of calcium, ask your GP for a blood test.
Dietary Sources of Calcium:
You can get your daily 1300mg intake of calcium from food, but it does take a bit of planning and preparation. These are the foods highest in calcium:
Dairy: Dairy has the highest natural levels of calcium with 150 - 305mg of calcium per serve. Foods include milk, cheese and yogurt
Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, Brazil Nuts, Walnuts and Tahini Paste are all great sources of natural calcium with 28 - 75mg of calcium per serve.
Seafood: Trout, Snapper, Mussels, Prawns, Canned Sardines and Salmon contain between 25 - 300mg of calcium per serve.
Vegetables: Kale, Cucumber, Silverbeet, Chinese Cabbage, Broccoli, Rocket and Boy Choy all contain between 59 - 250mg of calcium per serve.
Menopause and Osteoporosis Go Hand in Hand
When a woman reaches Perimenopause (the period before menopause), her natural levels of the sex hormone, oestrogen start to drop. Oestrogen has a very important role in maintaining a woman's bone strength and density. This is why many doctors recommend Hormone Replacement Therapy, as this increases the levels of estrogen in the body, preventing osteoporosis.
When women break a bone, there can be lasting complications and possibly limiting mobility.
Regardless if you are taking Hormone Replacement Therapy or not, Calcium Supplements are still a smart way of protecting your bone health. Make sure you only take the recommended dosage and let your Doctor know you are taking calcium supplements.
What to Look For in a Good Calcium Supplement
There are two forms of calcium supplement on the market: Calcium Carbonate and Calcium Citrate
Calcium Carbonate contains the highest amount of elemental calcium (approximately 40%) - but it does require stomach acid in order to be absorbed (so it is to be taken with food). Calcium Carbonate is relatively cheap, but can cause a bit of flatulence and bloating in some people.
Calcium Citrate supplements are more easily absorbed by the body and can be taken on an empty stomach. But as most are only 21% calcium, you may need to take more tablets to get the required dose.
Nature Made Calcium Magnesium and Zinc is a calcium supplement scientifically formulated to provide bone support nutrients as well as those that aid in nerve, muscle and metabolic reactions. Adequate calcium, along with a well-balanced diet, plays an integral role in supporting bone health and may help reduce risk of osteoporosis later in life. Adequate calcium is also important for teens and young adults and post-menopausal women. Magnesium helps support nerve, muscle, and metabolic functions. Each tablet of Nature Made Calcium, Magnesium & Zinc provides 333 mg of calcium, 133 mg of magnesium, and 5 mg of zinc as well as 5 mcg (200 IU) of vitamin D.
Ostelin Cal-Dk2 supports bone density and strength in a convenient 1-a-day dose. Designed for supporting bone mass in post-menopausal and elderly women. Ostelin Cal-DK2 contains K2VITAL® Menaquinone-7, a greater bioavailable form of Vitamin K. A diet deficient in calcium can lead to osteoporosis in later life. Calcium may help prevent osteoporosis when dietary intake is inadequate. Vitamin D3 helps increase calcium absorption and maintain muscle strength. Adults: Take 1 tablet daily with a meal or as directed by your healthcare professional. Do not take while on warfarin therapy without medical advice.
By now, we've all heard about the infamous hot flushes, mood swings, and those sleepless nights that menopause can bring. But today, we’re setting sail into uncharted waters, exploring the mysterious, the lesser-known, and the downright quirky symptoms of menopause. Fasten your seat belts (or better yet, pour yourself a cuppa or a glass of bubbly) because we're diving deep!
You've done it! Made an appointment with a Menopause Doctor about your Perimenopausal symptoms! That's great - and a huge step in the right direction. But what should you expect during the appointment - and what will the Doctor ask you? It's always good to be prepared before your first appointment.