Welcome back, my faithful readers! We are very happy that you returned for the final installment of this article series on osteoporosis and gum disease. As we promised last week, our installment this week will be a discussion about the nutritional aspects of reduced calcium in our diets and how we can change that. For those of you who have been with us through this series, you may recall, we have talked about how osteoporosis and gum disease are related, citing that the root connection lies in inflammation and the “mining” of the calcium from your bones to feed the need of the various cells in your body to function as designed by our Creator. Dr. Scharf is a licensed Periodontist in Long Island and it is his goal to keep you informed about topics which pertain to keeping you and your family safe and healthy. So, today, let’s get started in our discussion on the nutritional aspects of this topic.
How About Those Calcium Supplements?
If you’re among the millions of women who have taken calcium supplements for the prevention of osteoporosis, we may have some information which may be new to you. In the past, many if not all medical practitioners have been recommending taking calcium supplements to ward off the dreaded osteoporosis disease which is especially prevalent in women who are peri menopausal and postmenopausal. But, recently, research has shown that oral calcium supplements may not be the best advice medical practitioners can give to their patients. As I’m sure you’ve been advised by your medical practitioner, that focusing on getting extra calcium into your diet sooner rather than later is important. While it is true that waiting until menopause is better than not doing anything at all, your risk of fractures is increased the longer your wait. The statistics show that women generally live longer than their men but that doesn’t mean they have an appropriate quality of life after they outlive their men. In fact, statistics show that one in three women over the age of 50 will experience the complications of bone fractures with the pain and inconvenience they bring. Better solutions to osteoporosis prevention and management of fractures dilemma are being offered to women, especially those who are postmenopausal.
Next, The Cardiac Aspect
As mentioned in one of our previous installments, recent research has shown that, in addition to the normal uncomfortable side effects of calcium supplements (i.e. constipation, indigestion and increased kidney stone risks),the taking oral supplements for calcium can increase the risk for having a heart attack or other cardiac event! The study to which we refer was quoted in JAMA Journal of Internal Medicine and revealed that more than 11,000 deaths which occurred as a result of cardiovascular disease were linked to increased and continued intake of calcium supplements! WOW! THAT got my attention…how about you?
Now for the Nutritional Aspect
When speaking nutritionally, diet books and dieticians will tell you that calcium is available in so many different types of foods. Those foods are so much more readily available to we Americans that it makes one wonder why calcium supplements are so necessary for the large segment of the American population who use them. While we can readily understand that there are situations and circumstances which may require the use of calcium supplements, these cases are considerably more rare than one might think. For most of us, increasing our calcium intake can be as simple as changing our diets to include foods which are actually healthier for us anyway. Those changes could include but limited to:
- Eating dairy products with high calcium content – cheese, yogurt, kefir, almond milk, soy milk etc – raw milk only as pasteurization destroys some of the nutritional value of cow’s milk
- Eating more veggies which are fortified with calcium like broccoli and kale – many other green fresh veggies contain significant amounts of calcium as well as protein
- Bok choy and watercress
- Sardines with bones
As a side note: Increasing your activity levels will also help keep your bones strong and healthy. Weight-bearing activities can include walking, running, bicycling, aerobic exercise, strength-building exercises, etc.
As you can see, simple changes can help you achieve increased calcium intake as well as keep your bones strong and healthy. Maintaining good oral health can also help keep bony structures in your mouth strong and healthy. One way to do that is to establish and maintain regular visits to your dental professional. Dr Scharf wants to be your Periodontist in Long Island and he can help you achieve these goals for each and every member of your family, regardless of age. Call him at (631)661-6633 or visit him on the web at https://www.drscharf.com and let him tell you how he can treat gum disease with a laser instead of a scalpel.