Until recently, I wasn’t taking any supplements, but after my injury, my doctor suggested I go on a Calcium and Vitamin D supplement to help promote bone healing. Being that I’m under 30 and still have the potential to build bone mass, getting enough of these nutrients is important, injured or not. I make sure to include calcium-rich foods (both dairy and non-dairy) in my diet as well as sources of vitamin D (mostly dairy foods and foods fortified with vitamin D, like soy milk). When winter comes, I’ll consider taking a D supplement, as I know I was deficient this winter.
We’ll see. In general, I feel like getting the recommended amount is great but too much of a good thing can be just as harmful as not enough. Though no one nutrient can cure anything besides a deficiency in that nutrient, a diet that includes adequate amounts of all necessary nutrients can help keep you strong and healthy.
On her blog, Nutrition Data, today, Monica Reinagel , MS RD, talked about whether calcium supplements for women over 30 might be “too much, too late,” referring to a study that suggests that excessive intake of calcium can increase risk of heart attacks in women. A recent study shows that overloading the body with too much calcium can increase the calcium level in the blood (but not the bones), where it can contribute to hardening of the arteries. It appears that popping supplements cannot make up for lost time after all.
I like that Reinagel advises people over 30 to assess (hopefully, with a dietitian’s help) their calcium intake and to take a supplement that makes up for that gap between what they eat and the recommendation for their age group (usually between 1000 and 1500). She says that those under 30 should “make hay while the sun shines!” She writes, “This is your chance to build strong bones for a lifetime. Don’t squander it by sitting in front of the computer and drinking diet sodas.” An adequate, balanced diet and appropriate exercise are good habits to get into.
She offers some tips for a bone-healthy diet here.