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Osteoporosis: Calcium and Magnesium

Calcium
Calcium is the most abundant mineral found in the body and most of it is found in our bones. It is one of the most important minerals involved in the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis. Adequate amounts of calcium in your diet can help reduce bone loss by 30 - 50 percent!

There are many forms of calcium supplements available. However, in order to be effective, calcium must be properly absorbed by the body. Look for chelated forms of calcium (calcium citrate, calcium lactate, or calcium gluconate) because it is the easiest form for most people to absorb. The recommended amount of calcium is 1000 mg to 1500 mg per day. However, since your body can't absorb more than about 500 mg of calcium at a time, you should divide your doses and take them at different times of the day. Also, for maximum absorption, take your calcium supplements with food.

You can also increase your intake of calcium by eating calcium-rich foods. Food sources that are high in calcium include:

  • Kelp
  • Turnips
  • Collard greens
  • Dairy products

There are many more foods that contain calcium to help promote bone health and prevent osteoporosis. Take the SpineUniverse Osteoporosis Food Quiz to learn the best foods for your bones. You'll also learn the foods that may actually stunt bone growth.

Magnesium
Magnesium is a mineral that plays an important role in maintaining healthy bones. It contributes to increased bone density and helps prevent the onset of osteoporosis. Most people do not get enough magnesium in their diets, especially if they eat large amounts of processed foods in which much of the magnesium is removed.

Since magnesium works closely with calcium, it is important to have an appropriate ratio of both minerals in order for them to be effective. A good rule of thumb is a 2:1 calcium-to-magnesium ratio. For example, if you take 1000mg of calcium, you should also take 500mg of magnesium.

The recommended amount of magnesium is 300mg to 500mg daily. As with calcium, chelated forms of magnesium are absorbed best by the body. Magnesium oxide is also available and is often less expensive, but it is poorly absorbed by the body. Since high doses of magnesium can cause diarrhea, you should divide your doses and take them with meals throughout the day.

You can also increase your intake of magnesium by eating magnesium-rich foods. Food sources that are high in magnesium include:

  • Brown rice
  • Buckwheat
  • Corn
  • Dandelion greens
  • Dark green vegetables
  • Legumes
  • Nuts (almonds, cashew, brazil)
  • Rye
  • Seeds (sunflower, sesame, pumpkin)
  • Wheat germ/bran
  • Whole grain cereals
Updated on: 09/07/12
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