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Friday, September 30, 2011

17 Ways to Fight Osteoporosis (3)

Adults should get 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). And the recommendation goes up to 1,200 milligrams for women over 50 and men over 70.

Most people, with the possible exception of adolescent girls and the elderly, get enough calcium in their diet, according to a 2010 Institute of Medicine report.

Supplements are typically safe, but should be taken at the recommended dose and along with vitamin D. Too much can increase the risk of kidney stones or other problems.

Vitamin D
Vitamin D helps the body absorb, retain, and use calcium. Sunlight triggers vitamin-D production in the body, and dietary sources of the vitamin include fortified foods such as milk, orange juice, and breakfast cereals.

In general, it's hard to get too much vitamin D unless you overdo supplements. (Too much can harm the heart or kidneys). Aim for 600 international units (IU) daily and 800 IU if you are over 70, according to the NIH. The upper limit is 4,000 IU.

Oral bisphosphonates
Bisphosphonates are the most widely used osteoporosis medications, and include alendronate (Fosamax), a pill or liquid taken either daily or weekly; risedronate (Actonel), a daily, weekly, or monthly pill; and ibandronate (Boniva), a daily or monthly pill.

These medications are intended to prevent fractures in the spine, hips, and wrists among people with abnormal bone loss. Boniva, however, has only been proven to reduce spinal fractures.

The pills, which can cause heartburn and upset stomach, must be taken on an empty stomach. You can't eat for between 30 and 60 minutes after taking them, depending on the medicine.

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