Treatment of Osteoporosis (cont.)
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Nutrition and Osteoporosis Treatment
Eating the right foods is essential for good nutrition. Our bodies need the right vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to stay healthy. Getting enough calcium and vitamin D is important for strong bones, as well as for proper function of the heart, muscles, and nerves. The best way to get enough calcium and vitamin D is through a balanced diet.
Calcium and Vitamin D
A diet high in calcium is important to avoid broken bones and to strengthen bones. Good sources of calcium include low-fat dairy products, such as milk, yogurt, cheese, and ice cream; dark green leafy vegetables, such as broccoli, collard greens, and spinach; sardines and salmon with bones; tofu; almonds; and foods with added calcium, such as orange juice, cereals, and breads.
Vitamin D is also a necessary part of a healthy diet to treat osteoporosis. Without enough vitamin D, the body is unable to absorb calcium from the foods eaten, and the body will have to take calcium from the bones, making them weaker. Vitamin D comes from two sources. It is made in the skin through direct exposure to sunlight, and it comes from the diet. Many people get enough vitamin D naturally. It is also found in fortified dairy products, egg yolks, saltwater fish, and liver. However, vitamin D production decreases in older and elderly people, in people who are housebound, and during the winter. Supplements are available.Calcium supplements (treatment dose is 1-1.5 grams per day, divided into 500 mg two to three times per day after meals) and low doses of vitamin D (treatment dose is 800 international units [IU] per day) have been shown to reduce the risk of hip fracture in elderly women living in nursing homes. Adequate calcium and vitamin D levels in the body are also essential for other drug treatments, such as bisphosphonates, to be effective. In addition, doctors often recommend calcium and vitamin D supplements as part of osteoporosis treatment plans for younger patients.
Howard R Smith, MD
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