Menopause and Calcium Intake
Calcium is an important mineral that supports your body’s function and growth.1 Although getting enough calcium is important at any age, it’s even more important for women going through menopause.2
Menopause, which refers to the natural ending of periods that usually occurs between the ages of 45 and 55, can increase the risk of developing osteoporosis, a condition in which bones become less dense and are more prone to fractures.2 During menopause, women’s estrogen levels drop, resulting in increased bone loss.2 On average, women lose up to 10% of their bone mass in the first five years after menopause.2
Luckily, lifestyle habits and a diet rich in calcium can reduce the risk of osteoporosis and other bone density issues.1,2 Understanding the importance of calcium and how to incorporate it into your daily routine will help you maintain your health at any age.
Why Is Calcium Important?
Calcium helps your muscles, nerves, and cells function properly.1 Your body also uses calcium and phosphorus to make healthy bones.1 Since your body cannot naturally make calcium, it’s important to get enough calcium through your diet or from supplements.1,2
If you’re not getting enough calcium, your bones can become weak or not grow properly.1 While you may think bone growth is only a concern for growing children, bone health is just as important for adults. Your bones are constantly renewing themselves by reabsorbing old bone and forming new bone—it can take about 10 years for all the bones in your body to be renewed.1
The amount of calcium and other minerals present in a section of your bone is referred to as bone density.1 As you age, your bone density naturally decreases, causing your bones to become fragile.1 Even without injury, older adults with low bone density are at risk of breaking bones.1 Your body’s nutrient needs change as you get older, making it important to ensure your diet includes enough calcium and other nutrients key to maintaining bone health.
Calcium Before and After Menopause
During menopause, estrogen levels drop and cause increased bone loss.2 Depending on your bone mass before menopause, this may result in osteoporosis.2 However, estrogen levels aren’t the only thing that changes during menopause. Studies have shown an age-related decrease in calcium absorption in postmenopausal women, in addition to the decline that occurs during menopause.3 Serum calcium levels, or calcium levels measured by laboratory tests, show that on average postmenopausal women have a significantly lower level of calcium than premenopausal women.4 Incorporating more calcium into your diet through calcium-rich foods and supplements can help you maintain higher levels of calcium.
How Much Calcium You Should Take
Depending on your age, you may need more calcium to keep your bones dense and strong.1 Most experts recommend between 1,200 and 1,300 milligrams of calcium each day.1,2 Your health care provider may recommend a supplement to give you the calcium you need.
How to Get More Calcium
Although you may be able to get the recommended daily amount of calcium from your everyday diet, you may want to supplement your intake during menopause.2 Incorporating these high-calcium foods into your diet can help you get enough calcium.1,2
· Dark leafy green vegetables, like spinach and collard greens
· Sardines or tinned salmon
· Calcium-fortified soy or almond drinks
In addition to changing your diet, consider calcium supplements formulated to support bone density. Look for multivitamins with calcium and other important nutrients like vitamin D, which helps the body to absorb calcium.2 Centrum Silver Women is formulated specifically for women over the age of 50 to support strong bones and maintain overall health. Choosing calcium and vitamin D supplements during menopause can help support bone density as you age.*2
Understanding the changes your body undergoes during menopause, including the connection between menopause and calcium, can help you maintain bone strength. Eating a calcium-rich diet and choosing the right vitamins and supplements can help support your changing nutrient needs as you age.2
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
- Calcium. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Calcium-Consumer/. Accessed 3/10/22.
- Menopause and osteoporosis. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/menopause-and-osteoporosis. Accessed 3/10/22.
- Effect of age on calcium absorption in postmenopausal women. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/80/4/998/4690410. Accessed 3/10/22.
- Study of serum calcium levels in premenopausal women and postmenopausal women. https://www.medpulse.in/Physiology/Article/Volume4Issue2/Physiology_4_2_1.pdf. Accessed 3/10/22.