Curious about calcium? Understand its importance for bone health at every age!

Curious about calcium? Understand its importance for bone health at every age!
Keeping our bones healthy is essential for our health and wellbeing both in the short and long-term. Doing so requires adequate intake of calcium, a mineral that makes up 99% of the bone matrix[1], in combination with variety of dietary and lifestyle habits. Read on to find out more!

Why is calcium important for our health?

Calcium plays a major role in supporting the growth, development and maintenance of bones but is also required to support the formation of teeth and healthy functioning of the cardiovascular system health, muscles and nerves.

What are good dietary sources of calcium?

Dairy products (e.g. milk, hard cheeses and yogurt), canned fish like salmon and sardines (with the bones), fortified plant milk, tahini, dark green vegetables (e.g. kale and broccoli), fruits (e.g. oranges and figs) and tofu are all good sources of calcium.  

How does the body’s calcium requirements change over time?

Bones rapidly develop in size and strength during childhood and adolescence, critical phases of life when the foundation of future bone health is established. By the age of 18 in girls and 20 in boys, approximately 90% of peak bone mass is attained[2], therefore it’s not surprising that teenagers require 30% more calcium than adults aged 19-70 years[3].

For most people, by the age of 30, bones have reached their maximum bone density, after which the rate of bone loss slowly begins to outpace bone formation[4]. Following a bone-healthy lifestyle before peak bone mass is reached can help a young person ‘bank’ more bone to better tolerate the bone-declining effects of ageing.

What factors can strain optimal calcium intake and uptake?

  • Postmenopause – due to the reduction of oestrogen which plays an important role in maintaining bone health
  • Periods of rapid growth (early childhood and adolescence) – as rate of use may exceed rate of replacement in the diet
  • Advanced age (>50 years) – due to acceleration of bone loss relative to bone formation
  • Low stomach acid – as calcium requires a low pH for intestinal absorption
  • Strict vegan and vegetarian diets – as calcium intake tends to be lower than other diets

What nutrients work well with calcium to facilitate its use in the body?

Two important nutrient allies of calcium are vitamin D and vitamin K2. Vitamin D is critical for calcium assimilation in the gut, whereas vitamin K2 supports the absorption of calcium in bones to maintain healthy bone density.

Maintain good bone health in the long run by:

  • Participating in regular exercise – as it helps to support bone density overtime. Weight bearing impact loading movement (e.g. jogging, stair walking, skipping) and resistance training are considered the best types of exercise to maintain good bone health as well as muscle mass, especially in older individuals
  • Consuming a healthy diet – rich in calcium-dense foods and sufficient in protein as it constitutes approximately 50% of bone tissue[4]
  • Getting healthy sunshine exposure - as this helps to support the production of vitamin D in our skin.
  • Considering supplementation – to provide therapeutic doses for extra nutritional support

If you are looking to support calcium intake of the whole family, look to Herbs of Gold Calcium K2 with D3 for adults and children over 12 years or Herbs of Gold Children's Calci Care for children from 1 year and up.

Herbs of Gold Calcium K2 with D3 contains two bioavailable, well-absorbed forms of calcium including Aquamin™, extracted from a calcium-rich marine algae harvested from the North Atlantic seabed, and calcium citrate. It also contains vitamin D and K2 to support bone strength, density and mineralistion.

Herbs of Gold Children's Calci Care is a delicious strawberry-vanilla flavoured chewable tablet that contains calcium and vitamins D and K2 to support healthy growth and development in children.

[1] Beto, J. A. (2015). The role of calcium in human aging. Clinical Nutrition Research(1), 1-8.

[2] National Institutes of Health. (2015). Osteoporosis: peak bone mass in women. NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone […] National Resource Center.

[3] Eat for Health. Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand: Calcium. https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/nutrient-reference-values/nutrients/calcium

[4] National Institutes of Health. (2015). Osteoporosis: peak bone mass in women. NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone […] National Resource Center.

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