The Menopause Expert - Rebecca Hulem

Calcium - A Magic Mineral

"Women should be tough, tender, laugh as much as possible and live long lives."
                                                                                                                    - Maya Angelou

This great quote comes from a very wise and famous woman, author and poet, Maya Angelou, and the only thing I want to add to her statement is the word "healthy":   ". . . laugh as much as possible and live long, healthy lives."

A healthy life past menopause involves many components. One component is attaining and maintaining a healthy weight. A healthy weight is crucial to living a long and healthy life.

Most women know the relationship between eating a healthy diet, regular exercise and maintaining a normal weight.
 As it turns out, a certain magic mineral that you should include in your diet each day, along with proper exercise, may also help you manage your weight as well as protect your bones.

That magic mineral is . . . calcium. I know you've heard that calcium is needed to maintain bone strength beyond menopause. But did you know that research hasnd
 uncovered the fact that calcium in doses of 1200mg or greater on a daily basis also helps to burn fat? And, it makes it harder for new fat cells to form!

Unfortunately, research has also shown that most women are not eating enough of the right foods that have a sufficient amount of this much needed mineral. Therefore, it may be necessary to rely on supplements. Although most of us don't have a problem remembering to eat, one drawback to relying on supplements is that we have to remember to take them!  Not to worry, an article on improving memory during menopause is coming soon.

Vitamin Supplements

There are many different forms of calcium available, all of which can be purchased over the counter without a prescription. It is important to purchase a form of calcium that also includes 400 international units of vitamin D and 320 milligrams of magnesium. Both the vitamin D and the magnesium are important for proper absorption of the calcium into the body.

The two best forms of calcium are in calcium carbonate and calcium citrate. The amount of elemental calcium in each tablet is important also. You can check the label of the bottle to find the amount of "elemental calcium" in each tablet.  Elemental simply means the actual amount of calcium contained in a compound.

For weight loss and bone strength you will need approximately 1500 milligrams of calcium a day, including whatever calcium you are getting from your diet. If you eat 500 milligrams a day of calcium, you need to make up for the remaining 1000mg with supplements. Remember to divide the calcium into two separate doses of no more than 500mg each to assure that your body will utilize all the calcium you take. Studies have shown that the body cannot absorb more than 500mg at one time. I also suggest to my patients that they take one of their calcium supplements at night before they go to bed. It's believed that you experience a mild increase in bone turnover during sleep that may lead to bone loss, compared with when you're up and moving around. In addition if you take one of your supplements at night before you go to bed your body will continue to burn fat while you sleep!

Weight Management

To put more strength in your bones and get the weight off your hips, try the following science-based formula:
  • 1200 to 1500 milligrams of calcium in your diet or by supplement each day
  • 30 to 60 minutes of weight-bearing exercise each day
  • 30 to 60 minutes of strength training exercise three times weekly
Remember, adapting healthy new habits takes time and patience. Be gentle with yourself as you incorporate new lifestyle habits. Healthy habits are the keys to living a long and healthy life. And don't forget to laugh!

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