Thursday, April 7, 2011

Calcium and Vitamin D

I am doing it. I need to step up on my Soap Box for just a minute, I promise it won't be long... if you don't want to read it, close the tab, I am not offended.

So I found this latest article by Dr. Fuhrman very interesting and really wanted to share it with others, hence my copy and paste job to my blog. I find it so interesting, especially as a mom of young children, that calcium absorption can actually be BLOCKED by too much salt, caffeine, animal products, and SUGAR in our diets... Sometimes (actually, often) I get razzed/made fun because I monitor my child's intake of sugar and I don't allow her to indulge in it everywhere we go- but then when I read studies like this, I am affirmed in my decision to continue to monitor it and be okay with denying it (for her and for me) throughout the day. If I DO ACTUALLY get adequate greens in her diet, then I don't want to go overboard and dump all these "other things" in her system that will end up blocking the absorption of the vitamins and minerals that her body NEEDS to stay healthy. Again moderation and balance is my goal, I am in no way advocating nixing it all out...

Also, I wanted to point out HOW IMPORTANT it is to be eating vegetables, and how important it is for our children to be eating GREEN VEGETABLES.... did you see the part that states "32% of calcium is absorbed from milk, whereas 50 % of calcium is absorbed from green veggies".... that's a BIG DEAL.... we should be just as concerned (or even more so) that our kids are getting veggies in their diets as we are milk.... not to mention all the other wonderful health benefits that veggies bring. I could go on here, but I am trying to contain it.

So, are you thinking, "my kid doesn't eat veggies so now what???" Well, let's learn and share our ideas with each other. Let's open it up, how do you get your kids to eat veggies... Do you serve them first before they are allowed anything else on their plate? Do you mix them in smoothies?? (if so check out this recipe). Do you not allow them dessert until their veggies are gone?? Are you eating them as an example?? Or, do you just have then angelic children that ask for more broccoli please??? :) Share with us your wisdom... and read the article too! Leave your thoughts and insight PLEASE!!!

Ok, I will step down from my soap box now.... read it for yourself:

Calcium, Vitamin D, and Osteoporosis
About 10 million Americans already have osteoporosis, and 34 million are at risk.1 Contrary to popular belief however, low intake of calcium is not the primary cause of osteoporosis. While Americans have the highest calcium intake in the world, we also have one of the highest hip fracture rates in the world.2The standard American diet causes much of the consumed calcium to be lost in the urine. Excess salt, caffeine, sugar, and animal products leach calcium out of bones and promote urinary calcium loss.3The Nurses’ Health Study followed 72,337 women for over 18 years and found that dairy intake did not reduce the risk of osteoporosis-related hip fractures.4

In contrast, vegetables, beans, fruits, nuts, and seeds are rich sources of calcium and other important minerals, and do not promote the urinary excretion of calcium. A three cup serving of raw, chopped greens – like kale, bok choy, or collards – provides the same amount of calcium (or more) as one cup of whole milk. Only 32% of the calcium in the cup of cow’s milk can be absorbed by the human body compared to about 50% for many green vegetables.

Calcium isn’t the only important nutrient for bone health

It’s also important to keep in mind that the effect of nutrition on bone health is more complex than just getting adequate calcium. For example, vitamin K also supports bone health, and vitamin K is abundant in leafy greens.
6 Of course, vitamin D also plays a critical role in regulating bone health. Vitamin D promotes the absorption of calcium in the intestine as well as the activity of bone building cells. Medical studies show vitamin D is more effective than calcium for treating osteoporosis.7 The most natural way to obtain vitamin D is through sun exposure, but because of indoor jobs, our climate, and skin cancer risk it is virtually impossible to achieve optimal levels of Vitamin D from sunshine alone. Vitamin D supplementation is necessary for most people.

How much calcium and Vitamin D are necessary to protect against osteoporosis?

Most Americans take inadequate amounts of Vitamin D and excessive amounts of calcium. Approximately 50% of Americans are deficient in Vitamin D.
8 For optimal bone protection, I advise having a blood 25(OH)D test, and then supplementing accordingly to keep Vitamin D levels in the range of 35-50 ng/ml.9,10 If you have not had yet your blood tested, 2000 IU is a reasonable daily dose to start.

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