Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Osteoporosis & Non-dairy Calcium Sources

Recently, on a visit to the doctor's office, I was informed that my last bone density test had revealed that I had a pre-condition of osteoporosis in one hip and the other was borderline. My physician knowing I am following a vegan diet and quite adamant about it, prescribed 1200 mg of calcium and 800 mg of Vitamin D daily. I left the office with her advice that, if next year's bone density did not show improvement then medication would be discussed.
Shortly thereafter, I purchased a vegan calcium and vitamin D supplement. I'm not great about taking pills of any sort and these calcium pills were daunting. I would hold the "horse pill" in my hand, encouraging myself on to take a big gulp of water and pop the pill in. Well, down it would go but always sideways which wasn't too comfortable. Oh and yes, one other minor discomfort....calcium supplements are known to cause gas and constipation. Lovely.
Next attempt was with a liquid supplement. Not bad. Tasty even. But still with the feisty duo of "gas and constipation".
Well, I am now relegating the calcium supplement to once maybe twice a week. Instead, I am vowing (you are my witness') to bump up the non-dairy food sources of calcium on a daily basis.

  1. I will eat from the following choices daily: dark green vegetables - broccoli, bok choy, kale; beans, tofu (made with calcium), tahini, sesame seeds, almonds, figs, seaweeds, fortified soya milk and orange juice.
  2. I will take a Vitamin D supplement daily (800 mg)
  3. I will increase my weight bearing exercise (free weights, walking).
  4. I will maintain or possibly decrease my 2 coffees/day and 1 tea/day.
  5. I don't smoke or drink, but apparently, both cigarettes and alcohol have an affect on our calcium reserves.
Some interesting points regarding this whole issue:

  • N. America has one of the highest consumptions of dairy products AND one of the highest incidences of osteoporosis.
  • A high animal protein intake can affect the body's ability to retain calcium and is accumulative over a lifetime.
  • Calcium fortified soya milk does not contain excessive protein, hormones and antibiotics as does milk (the hormones and antibiotics injected by farmers into their dairy cattle to fight different maladies such as mastitis).
  • Soya phytochemicals (isoflavones) may assist in the PREVENTION of osteoporosis by reducing the loss of calcium from our bones.
  • For more interesting facts about milk and its effect on our bodies visit, the Toronto Vegetarian Associations website (Cow's Milk).

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Anonymous said...

thanks for the info A great help

Compassionate Consumption said...

You are very welcome!
Kind regards,