The loss of calcium and bone mass deficiency
Over the course of our lifetime, out bones are constantly being broken down and rebuilt. That’s why calcium is critical for building strong, healthy bones in people of all ages.
Over 250 million people suffer from reduced bone density causing 1.600.000 bone fractures (mostly of the hip, the spine and the wrist) per annum. These fractures result in 1.5 million hospitalisations, 2.5 million medical visits and at least 200,000 placements in old age homes. The combined cost of which is estimated to be more than €10 billion.
For people of all ages and life stages, calcium, Vitamin D, Vitamin K and exercise are critical to maintain everyday bone health and helping to prevent bone loss.
Banking Calcium in Childhood
From birth to adulthood, our bodies are growing and our bones are growing too. It is during these bone-forming years that our bodies are most capable of absorbing calcium and building stronger bones. But getting enough calcium from diet alone is not easy and most children and adolescents aren’t getting the calcium they need to build peak bone mass. Childhood and adolescence are crucial growth periods. Bone mass reaches its height around age 25. Between birth and age 25 a diet rich in milk products and adequately supplemented by vitamins and minerals is essential for healthy bones and is a good first step in developing bone mass.
Maintaining in Adulthood
Once our bodies have stopped growing, it is essential to maintain our bone mass throughout our adult lives by consuming enough calcium, vitamin D and Vitamin K to replace the calcium that is used each day by our bodies. Between age 25 and 40 bone mass remains usually stable, as calcium intake and loss is at equilibrium, except during the periods of pregnancy and nursing during which calcium and vitamin intake should be increased.
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding you particularly need increased calcium to meet the needs of your infant as well as your own. Your baby needs calcium to build healthy teeth and bones and you need it to preserve your bone mass while your baby is developing. Although most prenatal vitamins do contain some calcium, you should check with you doctor to see if additional calcium supplementation is needed.
Slowing Age-related Bone Loss After Age 40
As of age 40 and/or menopause, the loss of calcium gets progressively higher and bone density is reduced by approximately 0,2% to 1% per year due to the hormonal imbalance. After menopause, bone density loss can exceed 2% per year. During this time, a woman’s ovaries stop producing estrogen, which is critical to calcium balance. Bone mass is being broken down faster than it is being rebuilt. Calcium supplementation is very important at this stage to maintain bone strength for as long as possible.