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How can older women promote bone health?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

Take bio-identical hormone replacement including estrogen, and/or if you want to build stronger bones, it’s important to do two things:

1. Check your vitamins and minerals. We’re talking about calcium and vitamin D3. These are your bone’s best friends. Calcium is the building block of bones, but D3 is needed to absorb the calcium so it can do its bone-building magic.

You can get both calcium and vitamin D3 in your diet. Calcium is available in dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt, but soybeans, spinach, kale, almonds, sesame seeds, and figs are also jam-packed with calcium. And vitamin D is in a few foods, like salmon and tuna, but most of the time we get vitamin D3 through fortified foods like milk and OJ and some ready-to-eat breakfast cereals.

While it’s always best to get vitamins and minerals primarily through your diet, even pros like this young fella and question answerer, Dr. Mike, need a supplement. And you won’t like me if I just told you to take calcium alone, so add magnesium to the list, too. Magnesium has gastrointestinal benefits of particular importance when taking calcium. Without it, patients complain of mucho constipation and bloating! Take 600 mg calcium and 200 mg magnesium once a day. Don’t forget that D3! Take 1000 IU of vitamin D3 with your DHA or some other healthy fat. It’s fat soluble, so it’s absorbed better by the body when taken with fat.

2. Exercise. We tout the benefits of 10,000 steps a day all the time and bone health is one of the major reasons. In addition to those steps, older women especially should also perform weight-bearing exercise and resistance training on a regular basis. It increases the gravitational force and stress (the good kind) on bone and that stimulates bone cells to grow.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
To protect against bone loss, women in their forties should have their vitamin-D levels checked with a simple blood test, practice resistance training, refrain from smoking, and take calcium and vitamin D supplements. Once a woman reaches age 65 or older, she needs a bone-mineral-density scan. Those who have a family history of osteoporosis, smoke, or take steroids should get screened earlier. If your bone-density results are below normal, you may need prescription vitamin D and calcium, a higher intensity scan of your hips, and weight-bearing exercise.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.