(Last Updated on October 30, 2023)
Post-menopause is a unique time in a woman’s life: your kids are grown, you’re at the top of your career, and you’re now thinking of how to enjoy your golden years, whether that is by volunteering or simply spoiling your grandchildren. However, passing this crucial milestone brings its own challenges, particularly in regard to changing health needs.
As you move through life, you need to think about maintaining your overall health, which includes building muscle and staving off cognitive decline through a good diet, a hardy social group, and physical activity. However, you may not realize exactly how menopause changes what you need to stay active.
One of the most critical components of a healthful diet for senior women is calcium, but this need is often overlooked. A woman’s nutritional requirements are highly wrapped up in hormonal fluctuations throughout the lifespan, such as the increased need for folate during pregnancy and breastfeeding, but it’s not necessarily common knowledge how these fluctuations continue through menopause and beyond. Today, we’ll explore why calcium is so important for senior women to maintain healthy bones.
During menopause, your estrogen levels drop significantly as ovulation slows and eventually stops. However, estrogen isn’t just about fertility: it impacts all your body systems, from metabolism to bone health.
Far from being only a reproductive hormone, estrogen influences your osteoblasts, which are the cells that help to remodel and rebuild bones. As estrogen levels decrease, so do the activities of osteoblasts, which means that your bones are no longer rebuilding themselves at the same level as they were when you were younger.
Estrogen also helps to improve calcium absorption, which is the primary building block of bones; lower levels mean lower absorption, meaning that you need greater supplementation in order to have the same effect. This is the reason why nutritional requirements for senior women are higher than for other groups, about 1,500 mg as opposed to 1,000 mg for younger women.
It’s clear that while calcium is important for everyone, it is particularly essential for post-menopausal women. Great nutrition is an incredibly important component of getting enough vitamins and minerals, but you may need extra help keeping those calcium levels up – and supplements are a good way to do so.
Calcium supplements are a convenient way to get this important mineral, but not all supplements are made equal. Before you begin using them, you need to find a reputable manufacturer that you can trust. Find one that clearly lists all the ingredients, including their potency, and is transparent about how their supplements can assist you in reaching your nutrition goals. A supplement manufacturer should not make baseless claims and should use strong research to back up their product’s efficacy.
Consider finding a supplement that includes Vitamin D and magnesium, which are closely related to one another. Vitamin D helps to increase calcium absorption, while magnesium assists in drawing calcium out of the blood and bringing it back into the bones. Vitamin D and magnesium also work together to support nerve function and cardiovascular health. All three of these nutritional elements are important, but they have a synergistic effect when brought together in one supplement, which is crucial if you want to get the best results.
It’s also a good idea to take these supplements with food. One form of supplemental calcium, calcium carbonate has a higher pH than stomach acid; in other words, it is a base. Stomach acids, which are stimulated by eating, assist in absorbing calcium into the body. A supplement with both of these isn’t quite as food-dependent, but you may want to take it with your breakfast anyway, as this will help you stay regular in your supplement routine.
Be sure to follow manufacturer instructions and take your supplements at a regular time to ensure that you get the greatest benefit.
Menopausal women have different needs than their younger peers, which is particularly true in regard to calcium. Maintaining whole-body wellness ensures that you can remain spry and active throughout your golden years, letting you keep up with your grandkids and be a positive role model for all those in your community.
When assessing your nutritional needs, don’t forget to spare a thought for calcium and make a solid plan for how you can get enough of this vital mineral. With excellent nutrition, a well-adjusted physical activity plan, and thoughtful use of supplements, you’ll be your best self for everyone you love.