Osteoporosis :: Keeping bones healthy and strong – osteoporosis in women

Osteoporosis is much more common in women than in men. This is because women have less bone mass than men, tend to live longer and take in less calcium, and need the female hormone estrogen to keep their bones strong. If men live long enough, they are also at risk of getting osteoporosis later in life.

Once total bone mass has peaked – around age 35 – all adults start to lose it. In women, the rate of bone loss speeds up after menopause, when estrogen levels fall. Since the ovaries make estrogen, faster bone loss may also occur if both ovaries are removed by surgery.

Before menopause, one needs about 1,000 mg of calcium per day. After menopause, one needs 1,000 mg of calcium per day if taking estrogen and 1,500 mg of calcium per day if not taking estrogen.

It?s usually best to try to get calcium from food. Nonfat and low-fat dairy products are good sources of calcium. Other sources of calcium include dried beans, sardines and broccoli.

About 300 mg of calcium are in each of the following: 1 cup of milk or yogurt, 2 cups of broccoli, or 6 to 7 sardines.

Vitamin D and lactose (the natural sugar in milk) help the body absorb the calcium.

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