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4. Osteoporosis – Can it be prevented?

Calcium is a component of our diet that has been linked more than anything else to build and maintain our bone health! This is because reduced dietary intake or reduced calcium absorption by the body are associated with osteoporosis. Calcium needs, vary by gender and age, and it is estimated that the average calcium requirement for adults is 1000 mg/day, while for menopausal women it increases to 1200 mg/day.

The best source of calcium is dairy products, such as milk, yoghurt and various types of cheese. However, calcium is also found in other foods, but its degree of absorption is not as satisfactory as that of dairy products.

In addition to calcium, vitamin D is especially important for bone health. It contributes to the absorption of calcium from the intestine and its deposition in the bones. Consider that without the contribution of vitamin D, calcium absorption by the intestinal mucosa would not exceed 10-15% of their total dietary intake. In people with normal vitamin D levels, the small intestine absorbs about 30% of the calcium we take in from food. Most of vitamin D is synthesized by our body after skin exposure to sunlight, and there are some foods (eggs, fatty fish, liver, enriched products such as breakfast cereals, juices with calcium and vitamin D and milk), which contribute to its more effective prevention.

Unfortunately, scientific data from Greece show that the daily intake of calcium for many adults, especially for women, is much lower than the recommended guidelines. In a relatively recent study in Greece, it was shown that 74% of men and women over the age of 60 receive less than the recommended calcium from their diet. Also, a very large percentage of people, especially women, are not exposed to the sun to as much sun as they should, as a result of which they are at risk of developing low levels of vitamin D.

(The importance of prevention)

To prevent osteoporosis, on the one hand, we must achieve the highest bone mass which can be achieved during growth and young adulthood, and on the other hand, we must reduce the rate of bone loss that occurs to some extent in older people. Proper and adequate nutrition, as well as regular exercise, are two factors that greatly affect the health of our bones at all ages.

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