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It's Never Too Late to Prevent Osteoporosis

By ARA Content

Osteoporosis, a chronic disease that results in the deterioration of bone mineral density, affects nearly 28 million Americans -- 2 million of which are men. Despite these staggering numbers, this disease is often preventable.

Though osteoporosis has been thought of as a disease that affects mostly women, 5-6 million men are at risk of developing this disease each year and the risks increase with age. This year alone 80,000 men will suffer from hip fractures and one-third of these men will die within a year. It has also been estimated that direct and indirect costs associated with osteoporosis are $12-14 billion annually.

The leading causes of osteoporosis in men are:

- Heavy use of alcohol

- Steroid usage

- Hypogonadism (loss of male hormone)

Additional causes of osteoporosis (in both men and women) include:

- Genetics/family history

- Lack of weight-bearing exercises

- Smoking

- Inadequate calcium intake throughout life

Your Prescription Medication is Not Enough

With such alarming numbers, the National Institutes of Health and the National Osteoporosis Foundation have recommended that treatment of osteoporosis with any drug therapy also requires sufficient calcium and vitamin D to achieve optimal benefits. Studies have shown that you can triple your medication's bone-building benefits if you get the recommended 1,200 milligrams of calcium and 400 IU of vitamin D daily. But, according to a recent survey, only 30 percent of women are taking calcium and vitamin D with their osteoporosis medication.

According to national studies, we are not getting enough calcium in our daily diet. While foods such as milk, broccoli, kale, beans and cheese are primary sources of calcium, large quantities of these foods would need to be eaten in order to get the right amount of calcium. A single serving of dairy provides only about 300 mg of calcium and up to 100 IU of vitamin D.

Because the average woman only gets about half the recommended daily requirement of calcium through her diet, patients who are on therapy for osteoporosis need a calcium and vitamin D supplement. "It's generally acknowledged that we don't get enough calcium through our diet, so it's a good idea for most adults, particularly those patients on osteoporosis therapy or at risk for osteoporosis, to take a calcium supplement such as Citracal + D," advises Dr. Miriam Nelson, associate professor of Nutrition and director of the Center for Physical Fitness at the School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, and author of "Strong Women, Strong Bones."

Choosing a Supplement That's Right for You

Research has determined that different types of calcium supplement formulations (carbonate, phosphate and citrate) are absorbed in different ways by the body. The most widely available over-the-counter calcium supplements are formulated primarily from calcium carbonate, which is relatively insoluble.

Though calcium carbonate usually contains the highest concentration of calcium by weight, a study published in The Journal of Clinical Pharmacology shows that calcium carbonate is not readily available to the body. A study conducted by Howard J. Heller, M.D., assistant professor, Center for Mineral Metabolism and Clinical Research at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, indicates that the tablet formulation of calcium citrate in the form of Citracal was more bioavailable than calcium carbonate in the form of Os-Cal, even when given with a meal.

Dr. Nelson explains, "Calcium citrate does not require stomach acids for absorption as does calcium carbonate. This is an added benefit for older women who do not produce much stomach acid between meals. When combining the ease of absorption when taken with or without a meal and the vital Vitamin D component by which calcium turns into bone, calcium citrate supplements such as Citracal + D are a simple way to maintain the bone mass you've built."

Here are Some Tips to Prevent Osteoporosis:

- Eat calcium-rich foods, such as dairy, broccoli, kale, and beans

- Moderate your intake of alcohol

- Don't use steroids

- If you smoke, quit

- Take a daily ten-minute walk as a form of weight-bearing exercise

For more information on osteoporosis, please visit Mission Pharmacal's Web site.

Courtesy of ARA Content. Used by permission of Fitness Pro Advantage.


Director’s Comment

Mission Pharmacal, the manufacturer of Citracal, produced the above article. Although this does create some bias in it’s recommendations, I have seen many other studies verifying that the citrate form of calcium is better absorbed than the carbonate form, especially in older adults who often lack stomach acid. And there are many other quality products besides Citracal that contain calcium citrate.

The product that I have used for years is Twinlab’s Calcium Citrate Caps. This product also contains magnesium, in a 2:1 ratio of calcium to magnesium. Magnesium is another mineral important in bone formation. I know this product is well absorbed and works well as it is the best product I have found for controlling my neurological “tics.” I now have my mom taking it for her osteoporosis. See Calcium Citrate Caps for further details.

Now the above article is correct in noting that vitamin D is also important. But this nutrient is contained in adequate amounts in Twinlab’s Daily One Caps. So a combination of these two supplements provides the full spectrum of necessary nutrients. Both of these supplements are available from  WebVitamins and MuscleSurf.

Another point to note is that the best form of exercise for preventing osteoporosis is weightlifting. And the best weightlifting exercises to perform are the powerlifts (squats, bench presses, and deadlifts). See Proper Performance of the Powerlifts for details in this regard.

The above article first appeared the free FitTips for One and All newsletter.

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