For years, people over 50 – especially women -- have been told by their doctors to maintain a healthy intake of calcium to avoid or slow the onset of osteoporosis, a bone-thinning disease that afflicts nearly half of all American women over 50. Now, there’s lots of calcium in the foods we eat -- dairy products and leafy greens, fortified drinks like soymilk and juices and cereals, and sunlight helps our bodies produce the Vitamin D we need to absorb all that dietary calcium.
Still, most people in the West still don’t get enough calcium, either from food or from the calcium supplements they’ve been taking every day. Until a few years ago, the solution to this calcium deficit might have seemed obvious: take more calcium supplements to erase that deficit. But a pair of studies last fall (9/15) in the online British Medical Journal confirmed what US officials have previously reported: that taking calcium supplements is not just a waste of time and money, but could actually threaten your health. To help us understand these new findings and how we can properly -- and safely – keep our calcium levels where they’re supposed to be, we turn to our Nutrition Diva, Monica Reinagel. She’s a licensed nutritionist who blogs at Nutrition Over Easy, and whose weekly podcasts appear on Quick and Dirty Tips.com.