Menopause can be a difficult time for many women, with symptoms like hot flashes, weight gain, and mood swings flaring up unexpectedly. It is also when the risk for osteoporosis is high. Even more frustrating is the fact that if you experience one of these symptoms, you're more likely to suffer from some of the others as well, and often one symptom will provoke another. For this reason, there may relationships between menopause, osteoporosis, body fat, and calcium intake. Read on for more information about menopause and osteoporosis risk factors.
The Relationship between Menopause, Body Fat, and Osteoporosis
The menopausal transition produces a natural, yet drastic, fluctuation in hormone levels. When estrogen levels decrease, women may experience several uncomfortable symptoms like weight gain and an increased risk of osteoporosis.
Researchers used to think that being overweight created protection for your bones. Studies now show that women with excess body fat, particularly in the belly, may be at a greater risk for developing osteoporosis. It seems that overweight and obese women may have a higher level of bone marrow fat and lower bone density levels.
Weight and Calcium Intake
Studies have shown that there is a relationship between calcium intake and obesity, as well as insulin resistance. It seems that dietary calcium, as opposed to calcium supplements, has a greater effect on maintaining healthy bones. It may also be that people who are more conscious of their calcium intake are also more particular about maintaining lower body fat.
Calcium Intake and Osteoporosis
It's no secret that calcium is essential to maintaining healthy bone density and preventing osteoporosis. In the past, some believed that osteoporosis was simply a normal part of aging, but more recently, studies show that sufficient calcium intake paired with vitamin D and exercise can guard against osteoporosis.
Talk with your doctor to find out the latest information pertaining to body fat and osteoporosis. As you approach menopause, knowledge of symptoms and risk factors becomes more important to your health.
- Cleveland Clinic. (n.d.). Menopause and Osteoporosis. Retrieved January 22, 2016, from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases_conditions/hic-what-is-perimenopause-menopause-postmenopause/hic_Menopause_and_Osteoporosis
- Migliaccio, S. et al. (2011). Is obesity in women protective against osteoporosis? Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity: Targets and Therapy. doi: 10.2147/DMSO.S11920
- New York State Department of Health. (2015). Calcium and Healthy Bones. Retrieved January 22, 2016, from https://www.health.ny.gov/publications/1982.pdf