Seniors need calcium for bones and heart

You’ve heard that calcium is important for strong bones. But to get the calcium you need, you also require vitamin D. Vitamin D maintains a constant level of calcium in the blood stream by causing the intestinal tract to absorb more calcium from foods. If you’re vitamin D deficient, you won’t get enough calcium into your bones no matter how much you consume. This is particularly true for older women. As we age, we lose the ability to produce vitamin D in our skin from the sun.

At the Institute of Clinical Osteology in Bad Prymont, Germany, researchers conducted an eight-week study to see if osteoporosis could be improved through supplementation with calcium and vitamin D. Researchers looked at 148 elderly women who were given either calcium alone or calcium with vitamin D for eight weeks, then observed for a 12-month period. The researchers found that the women in the calcium and vitamin D group suffered nearly 50% less falls than the calcium group alone, thereby reducing the number of subsequent bone fractures.

Calcium and vitamin D supplementation may also be good for your heart. A similar study at the Institute showed that supplementing with calcium and vitamin D decreased blood pressure. In this eight-week study, patients were again given either calcium alone or calcium with vitamin D. After the study, 81% of those in the calcium and vitamin D group showed a decrease in systolic blood pressure levels, versus only 47% in the calcium alone group. Researchers conclude that calcium supplements with vitamin D may be preventative for both osteoporosis and heart disease.

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