Osteoporosis means “porous bone.” Osteoporosis is a bone disease characterized by the thinning and weakening of bone. The disease affects approximately 8-million women and 2-million men in the United States. Another 34-million Americans have osteopenia, or reduced bone mass, putting them at risk for developing osteoporosis.
A diagnosis of osteoporosis is accompanied by an increased risk of fracturing bones, especially the hip and spine. The United States Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening for osteoporosis in all women 65-years and older with dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA), also known as a bone density test.
Calcium is crucial to humans. It is the most abundant mineral in the body. It is a major component of bones and teeth. Calcium is also needed to help muscles and blood vessels to expand and contract, to secrete hormones and enzymes, and to send messages through the nervous system. Foods rich in calcium include dairy products (cheese, yogurt, and milk) and leafy, green vegetables (turnip greens, kale, bok choy, and broccoli).
A daily intake of 1,200-mg of calcium is recommended for all women diagnosed with osteoporosis. Most women diagnosed with the disease utilize calcium supplements to reach their daily intake goals. The two most common and well-studied calcium supplements are calcium carbonate and calcium citrate. Both are equally well absorbed when taken with food. However, calcium carbonate supplements have the highest percentage of elemental calcium, which translates into fewer tablets to achieve daily intake goals. The most common adverse events reported were constipation and stomach upset.