Calcium and Milk: What’s New?

Growing Healthy Bones

Bone is living tissue that throughout the lifespan, are constantly being broken down and built up. In healthy individuals who get enough calcium and physical activity, bone production exceeds bone destruction up to about age 30. After that, destruction typically exceeds production.

What Is Osteoporosis?

People typically lose bone as they age, despite consuming the recommended intake of calcium necessary to maintain optimal bone health. The loss of bone with aging is the result of several factors, including genetic factors, physical inactivity and lower levels of circulating hormones (estrogen in women and testosterone in men).

How Can Osteoporosis Be Slowed Down?

Preventing osteoporosis depends on two things: making the strongest, densest bones possible during the first 30 years of life and limiting the amount of bone loss in adulthood.

There are a number of lifestyle factors that can help with the latter:

Getting regular exercise, especially weight-bearing and muscle strengthening exercise.
Getting adequate vitamin D, whether through diet, exposure to sunshine or supplements.
Consuming enough calcium to reduce the amount the body has to borrow from bone.
Consuming adequate vitamin K, found in green, leafy vegetables.

Some other factors may also help lower the risk of osteoporosis:

Take care with caffeine and cola-drinks. Caffeine tends to promote calcium excretion in urine and cola has high levels of phosphorous, which may alter the dietary balance between calcium and phosphorous and thereby weaken bones.
Get enough protein, but not too much. The body needs protein to build healthy bones but as the body digests protein, it releases acids into the bloodstream, which the body neutralizes by drawing calcium from the bones.
Get enough vitamin A, but not too much. Vitamin A has also been found to direct the process of borrowing and redepositing calcium in bone. However, too much preformed vitamin A (also known as retinol) can promote fractures. Choose a multivitamin supplement that has all or the majority of its vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene.

Should You Get Calcium from Milk?

When most people think of calcium, they immediately think of milk. But should this be so? Milk is actually only one of many sources of calcium—dark leafy green vegetables and some types of legumes are among the other sources—and there are some important reasons why milk may not be the best source for everyone.

These reasons include the following:

Lactose Intolerance

Many people have some degree of lactose intolerance. For them, eating or drinking dairy products causes problems like cramping, bloating, gas, and diarrhea. One alternative for those who are lactose intolerant but who still enjoy consuming dairy products is to take a pill containing enzymes that digest milk sugar along with the dairy product or to consume milk that has the lactase enzyme added to it.

High Saturated Fat Content

Many dairy products are high in saturated fats and a high saturated fat intake is a risk factor for heart disease. Most dairy products are now available in fat-reduced or fat-free options. The saturated fat that’s removed from dairy products is inevitably consumed by someone, often in the form of ice cream, butter or baked goods.

Possible Increased Risk of Ovarian Cancer

High levels of galactose, a sugar released by the digestion of lactose in milk, have been studied as possibly damaging to the ovaries and leading to ovarian cancer, but more research is needed.

Probable Increased Risk of Prostate Cancer

A diet high in calcium has been implicated as a probable risk factor for prostate cancer. A more recent analysis of a Harvard study found that men with the highest calcium intake—at least 2,000 milligrams a day—had nearly double the risk of developing fatal prostate cancer as those who had the lowest intake (less than 500 milligrams per day).

The Bottom Line: Recommendations for Calcium Intake and Bone Health

Adequate, lifelong dietary calcium intake is necessary to reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Consuming adequate calcium and vitamin D and performing regular, weight-bearing exercise are also important to build maximum bone density and strength. After age 30, these factors help slow bone loss, although they cannot completely prevent bone loss due to aging.

Milk and dairy products are a convenient source of calcium for many people. They are also a good source of protein and are fortified with vitamins D and A. At this time, however, there is controversy about the optimal intake of calcium.

The NRV (Nutrient Reference Values) follow:

Age Calcium
1 – 3 year old 500 mg
4 – 8 year old 800 mg
9 – 18 year old 1300 mg
19 – 50 year old 1000 mg
51 – 70 year old 1200 mg
> 70 year old 1200 mg

 

At moderate levels, though, consumption of calcium and dairy products has benefits beyond bone health, including possibly lowering the risk of high blood pressure and colon cancer.

For individuals who are unable to digest—or who dislike—dairy products and for those who simply prefer not to consume large amounts of such foods, other options are available. Calcium can also be found in dark green, leafy vegetables, such as kale and collard greens, as well as in dried beans and legumes.

Calcium is also found in spinach and chard, but these vegetables contain oxalic acid, which combines with the calcium to form calcium oxalate, a chemical salt that makes the calcium less available to the body. A variety of calcium-fortified foods, such as orange juice and soy milk, are now on the market.

Calcium can also be ingested as a supplement, and if you do go the supplement route, it’s best to choose one that includes some vitamin D. Antacids contain calcium, but do not contain vitamin D. So if you choose antacids as a calcium source, you may want to consider taking a separate vitamin D supplement.

Growing Healthy Bones

Bone is living tissue that throughout the lifespan, are constantly being broken down and built up. In healthy individuals who get enough calcium and physical activity, bone production exceeds bone destruction up to about age 30. After that, destruction typically exceeds production.

What Is Osteoporosis?

People typically lose bone as they age, despite consuming the recommended intake of calcium necessary to maintain optimal bone health. The loss of bone with aging is the result of several factors, including genetic factors, physical inactivity and lower levels of circulating hormones (estrogen in women and testosterone in men).

How Can Osteoporosis Be Slowed Down?

Preventing osteoporosis depends on two things: making the strongest, densest bones possible during the first 30 years of life and limiting the amount of bone loss in adulthood.

There are a number of lifestyle factors that can help with the latter:

Getting regular exercise, especially weight-bearing and muscle strengthening exercise.
Getting adequate vitamin D, whether through diet, exposure to sunshine or supplements.
Consuming enough calcium to reduce the amount the body has to borrow from bone.
Consuming adequate vitamin K, found in green, leafy vegetables.

Some other factors may also help lower the risk of osteoporosis:

Take care with caffeine and cola-drinks. Caffeine tends to promote calcium excretion in urine and cola has high levels of phosphorous, which may alter the dietary balance between calcium and phosphorous and thereby weaken bones.
Get enough protein, but not too much. The body needs protein to build healthy bones but as the body digests protein, it releases acids into the bloodstream, which the body neutralizes by drawing calcium from the bones.
Get enough vitamin A, but not too much. Vitamin A has also been found to direct the process of borrowing and redepositing calcium in bone. However, too much preformed vitamin A (also known as retinol) can promote fractures. Choose a multivitamin supplement that has all or the majority of its vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene.

Should You Get Calcium from Milk?

When most people think of calcium, they immediately think of milk. But should this be so? Milk is actually only one of many sources of calcium—dark leafy green vegetables and some types of legumes are among the other sources—and there are some important reasons why milk may not be the best source for everyone.

These reasons include the following:

Lactose Intolerance

Many people have some degree of lactose intolerance. For them, eating or drinking dairy products causes problems like cramping, bloating, gas, and diarrhea. One alternative for those who are lactose intolerant but who still enjoy consuming dairy products is to take a pill containing enzymes that digest milk sugar along with the dairy product or to consume milk that has the lactase enzyme added to it.

High Saturated Fat Content

Many dairy products are high in saturated fats and a high saturated fat intake is a risk factor for heart disease. Most dairy products are now available in fat-reduced or fat-free options. The saturated fat that’s removed from dairy products is inevitably consumed by someone, often in the form of ice cream, butter or baked goods.

Possible Increased Risk of Ovarian Cancer

High levels of galactose, a sugar released by the digestion of lactose in milk, have been studied as possibly damaging to the ovaries and leading to ovarian cancer, but more research is needed.

Probable Increased Risk of Prostate Cancer

A diet high in calcium has been implicated as a probable risk factor for prostate cancer. A more recent analysis of a Harvard study found that men with the highest calcium intake—at least 2,000 milligrams a day—had nearly double the risk of developing fatal prostate cancer as those who had the lowest intake (less than 500 milligrams per day).

The Bottom Line: Recommendations for Calcium Intake and Bone Health

Adequate, lifelong dietary calcium intake is necessary to reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Consuming adequate calcium and vitamin D and performing regular, weight-bearing exercise are also important to build maximum bone density and strength. After age 30, these factors help slow bone loss, although they cannot completely prevent bone loss due to aging.

Milk and dairy products are a convenient source of calcium for many people. They are also a good source of protein and are fortified with vitamins D and A. At this time, however, there is controversy about the optimal intake of calcium.

The NRV (Nutrient Reference Values) follow:

Age Calcium
1 – 3 year old 500 mg
4 – 8 year old 800 mg
9 – 18 year old 1300 mg
19 – 50 year old 1000 mg
51 – 70 year old 1200 mg
> 70 year old 1200 mg

 

At moderate levels, though, consumption of calcium and dairy products has benefits beyond bone health, including possibly lowering the risk of high blood pressure and colon cancer.

For individuals who are unable to digest—or who dislike—dairy products and for those who simply prefer not to consume large amounts of such foods, other options are available. Calcium can also be found in dark green, leafy vegetables, such as kale and collard greens, as well as in dried beans and legumes.

Calcium is also found in spinach and chard, but these vegetables contain oxalic acid, which combines with the calcium to form calcium oxalate, a chemical salt that makes the calcium less available to the body. A variety of calcium-fortified foods, such as orange juice and soy milk, are now on the market.

Calcium can also be ingested as a supplement, and if you do go the supplement route, it’s best to choose one that includes some vitamin D. Antacids contain calcium, but do not contain vitamin D. So if you choose antacids as a calcium source, you may want to consider taking a separate vitamin D supplement.

Calcium Content of Selected Foods

1 serving of Slender Wonder Protein Plus Shake contains 155 mg calcium and if mixed with a cup of milk (300mg) = 455 mg calcium. If you drink two shakes per day; you will consume in the region of 900mg calcium per day.

Dairy and Soy Amount Calcium (mg)
Milk (skim, low fat, whole) 1 cup 300
Buttermilk 1 cup 300
Cottage Cheese 0.5 cup 65
Ice Cream or Ice Milk 0.5 cup 100
Sour Cream, cultured 1 cup 250
Soy Milk, calcium fortified 1 cup 200 to 400
Yogurt 1 cup 450
Yogurt drink 350ml 300
Nonfat dry milk powder 5 Tbsp 300
Brie Cheese 30g 50
Hard Cheese (chedda) 30g 200
Mozzarella 30g 200
Parmesan Cheese 1 Tbsp 70
Swiss or Gruyere 30g 270

 

Vegetables

Acorn squash, cooked 1 cup 90
Arugula, raw 1 cup 125
Bok Choy, raw 1 cup 40
Broccoli, cooked 1 cup 180
Chard or Okra, cooked 1 cup 100
Chicory (curly endive), raw 1 cup 40
Collard greens 1 cup 50
Corn, brine packed 1 cup 10
Dandelion greens, raw 1 cup 80
Kale, raw 1 cup 55
Kelp or Kombe 1 cup 60
Mustard greens 1 cup 40
Spinach, cooked 1 cup 240
Turnip greens, raw 1 cup 80

 

Fruits

Figs, dried, uncooked 1 cup 300
Kiwi, raw 1 cup 50
Orange juice, calcium fortified 1 cup 300

 

Legumes

Garbanzo Beans, cooked 1 cup 80
Legumes, general, cooked 0.5 cup 15 to 50
Pinto Beans, cooked 1 cup 75
Soybeans, boiled 0.5 cup 100
Temphe 0.5 cup 75
Tofu, firm, calcium set 120g 250 to 750
Tofu, soft regular 120g 120 to 390
White Beans, cooked 0.5 cup 70

 

Grains

Cereals (calcium fortified) 0.5 to 1 cup 250 to 1000
Amaranth, cooked 0.5 cup 135
Bread, calcium fortified 1 slice 150 to 200
Brown rice, long grain, raw 1 cup 50
Oatmeal, instant 1 package 100 to 150
Tortillas, corn 2 85

 

Nuts and Seeds

Almonds, toasted unblanched 30g 80
Sesame seeds, whole roasted 30g 280
Sesame tahini 30g (2 Tbsp) 130
Sunflower seeds, dried 30g 50

 

Fish

Mackerel, canned 90 g 250
Salmon, canned, with bones 90 g 170 to 210
Sardines 90 g 370

 

Calcium Content of Selected Foods

1 serving of Slender Wonder Protein Plus Shake contains 155 mg calcium and if mixed with a cup of milk (300mg) = 455 mg calcium. If you drink two shakes per day; you will consume in the region of 900mg calcium per day.

Dairy and Soy Amount Calcium (mg)
Milk (skim, low fat, whole) 1 cup 300
Buttermilk 1 cup 300
Cottage Cheese 0.5 cup 65
Ice Cream or Ice Milk 0.5 cup 100
Sour Cream, cultured 1 cup 250
Soy Milk, calcium fortified 1 cup 200 to 400
Yogurt 1 cup 450
Yogurt drink 350ml 300
Nonfat dry milk powder 5 Tbsp 300
Brie Cheese 30g 50
Hard Cheese (chedda) 30g 200
Mozzarella 30g 200
Parmesan Cheese 1 Tbsp 70
Swiss or Gruyere 30g 270

 

Vegetables

Acorn squash, cooked 1 cup 90
Arugula, raw 1 cup 125
Bok Choy, raw 1 cup 40
Broccoli, cooked 1 cup 180
Chard or Okra, cooked 1 cup 100
Chicory (curly endive), raw 1 cup 40
Collard greens 1 cup 50
Corn, brine packed 1 cup 10
Dandelion greens, raw 1 cup 80
Kale, raw 1 cup 55
Kelp or Kombe 1 cup 60
Mustard greens 1 cup 40
Spinach, cooked 1 cup 240
Turnip greens, raw 1 cup 80

 

Fruits

Figs, dried, uncooked 1 cup 300
Kiwi, raw 1 cup 50
Orange juice, calcium fortified 1 cup 300

 

Legumes

Garbanzo Beans, cooked 1 cup 80
Legumes, general, cooked 0.5 cup 15 to 50
Pinto Beans, cooked 1 cup 75
Soybeans, boiled 0.5 cup 100
Temphe 0.5 cup 75
Tofu, firm, calcium set 120g 250 to 750
Tofu, soft regular 120g 120 to 390
White Beans, cooked 0.5 cup 70

 

Grains

Cereals (calcium fortified) 0.5 to 1 cup 250 to 1000
Amaranth, cooked 0.5 cup 135
Bread, calcium fortified 1 slice 150 to 200
Brown rice, long grain, raw 1 cup 50
Oatmeal, instant 1 package 100 to 150
Tortillas, corn 2 85

 

Nuts and Seeds

Almonds, toasted unblanched 30g 80
Sesame seeds, whole roasted 30g 280
Sesame tahini 30g (2 Tbsp) 130
Sunflower seeds, dried 30g 50

 

Fish

Mackerel, canned 90 g 250
Salmon, canned, with bones 90 g 170 to 210
Sardines 90 g 370

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