Review on March 30, 2009
It's no secret that calcium helps build bone strength and prevents the approach of osteoporosis in women of menopausal age. This is why from a younger age women are encouraged to drink their milk to build strong bones. However, new research suggests that vitamin D3, which is commonly used to fortify normal milk, is also extremely beneficial in bone growth, health, and protection; ultimately fighting osteoporosis.
Vitamin D3, synthesized from fish liver oils, is added to dairy products in the USA and increasingly in Europe as well. A study undertaken in France has helped to spread the word about the benefits of vitamin D3 in combating osteoporosis. This is true not only for women but men as well, who also increasingly must watch their bone health. In the French study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, a group of over 3000 women between the ages of 69 to 106, spread over a group of 180 nursing homes, were observed for a period of 18 months to observe the effects of these dietary changes on bone density and osteoporosis.
The women's diets were supplemented not only with calcium but also with a mega-dose, 800 units to be exact, of vitamin D3. After the period of 18 months was over, the women were surveyed to see how the vitamin helped against the detriments of osteoporosis. The amount of women taking the supplements who suffered from hip fractures was 43% lower than those women who were taking a placebo. Furthermore, the number of non-vertebral fractures was 32% lower in this same group of women. These results indicate that taking supplements of not only calcium, but also vitamin D3, is important in the fight against osteoporosis in order to maintain a woman's bone density.
If lactose intolerant, vitamin D3 supplements are also available in any health food store, and also occur naturally in fish oils. It may be worthwhile for women of menopausal age to seek out these supplements to help bolster bone strength and ward off osteoporosis, leading to a longer and happier life.
- "Menopause and Osteoporosis". Cleveland Clinic. http://my.clevelandclinic.org
- "What You Need to Know about Osteoporosis". American Physical Therapy Association. www.apta.org.
- "Calcium and Healthy Bones". New York State Department of Health. www.health.state.ny.us.
- "Prevention: Who's at Risk". National Osteoporosis Foundation. www.nof.org.