Unfortunately, most women today do not get enough calcium in their diet. They drink soda instead of milk, refuse to eat leafy green veggies, and don't bother with a supplement. In fact, the average American diet contains only about 500 to 750 mg of calcium.
Although most of the calcium in your body is in your bones, the mineral also helps muscles to contract, blood to clot, and your heart to beat. If you don't get enough in your diet, your body will take what it needs from your bones, which will cause your bones to become thin. That's why adequate calcium intake is so critical.
If you're concerned about bone health, cut back on alcohol. Consuming more than seven ounces of alcohol a week — the equivalent of one drink per day — reduces bone density. Because alcohol affects your balance and coordination, it raises the risk of falls and hip fractures. Alcohol is also high in empty calories — seven calories per gram.
This thinning of bone is exacerbated in women with hyperthyroidism, due to the stimulation of osteoclasts by the excess thyroid hormone.
Where's the Calcium?
Most of the calcium you get comes from your diet. Good sources of dietary calcium include low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese. An eight-ounce glass of skim milk, for instance, provides 298 mg of calcium, while an eight-ounce serving of yogurt delivers 415 mg. An ounce of Swiss cheese provides 219 mg. You can also find calcium in fortified orange juice, canned fish with edible bones, leafy green vegetables, and tofu.
In addition, calcium is found in supplements and multivitamins. But most multivitamins do not have enough calcium to satisfy your daily needs.
Get Your Calcium
Women with thyroid disease need to pay special attention to their calcium intake, especially if they have hyperthyroidism. According to the National Institutes of Health, if you're over age fifty and taking estrogen, you need 1,000 mg of calcium per day. If you're over fifty and not taking estrogen, you need 1,500 mg a day. Women between the ages of twenty-five and fifty should get 1,000 mg a day.
Chances are, you won't satisfy your requirements, so most women need to take a supplement, too. When choosing a supplement, be sure to check the label for the amount of