Calcium as a Primary Treatment and Prevention Modality for Osteoporosis
The skeleton contains 99.5% of body calcium and provides a mineral reservoir to support plasma calcium concentrations at times of need. Since the intestine is the only site for calcium to enter the body, it seems obvious that dietary calcium intake should be a major determinant of skeletal acquisition and maintenance. However, the truth of this statement has been difficult to establish. Seemingly contradictory interpretations of the literature receive widespread publicity in the scientific and lay media regarding the proper role of dietary calcium, resulting in a substantial residue of misunderstanding and skepticism among physicians and other health professionals, as well as the community at large. In this chapter, I propose to clarify what is currently understood with respect to this issue. If successful, I hope to convince the reader that the importance of dietary calcium is linked to specific phases in the life cycle and that proper attention to calcium intake at specific times of life is, in fact, an effective strategy to improve bone health. This chapter will not deal with nutritional aspects of normal and low birthweight infancy because of the highly specialized nature of that topic.
KeywordsBone Mineral Density Calcium Intake Calcium Supplementation Dietary Calcium Peak Bone Mass
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