Shop Online at Pharmasave shop
Sign Up

Bone building blocks

Around 1.5 million Canadians over the age of 40 are living with osteoporosis. While the disease can strike at any age, it is most common over the age of 50. Women are also 4 times as likely to suffer from osteoporosis than men.

With numbers like these, it's easy to believe that osteoporosis is an inevitable part of aging. The good news is that it's not! Bone loss can often be prevented or slowed down – even if it's already begun. It may take some lifestyle changes and adjustments, but the results will be well worth it.

First, check your bad habits at the door. Stop smoking, limit caffeine intake, and start exercising. Weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercises can prevent bone loss and help strengthen the bone mass you still have. This can mean taking an aerobics or dance class, lifting weights, or playing a weekly game of golf, for example. Exercises that focus on balance, such as tai chi, can help people who are at risk of falling. Of course, you should always check with your doctor before beginning any new exercise program.

If you can't participate in regular or organized exercise, keeping active around the house or with friends can be just as effective. Going for daily walks, using the stairs, gardening, jogging, and even doing housework are all ways to get your body moving.

Second, eat well. It's never too late to start following a healthy diet. Getting enough protein, calcium, and vitamin D is essential to bone health, and can easily be done by eating the right foods. And by increasing your calcium intake, you're also going to be taking in other nutrients, which can make all-round improvements in your health.

How much calcium do you need?

Osteoporosis Canada recommends the following for daily calcium intake:

Age and gender

Total recommended daily intake of calcium (from diet and supplements)

19 to 50

1000 mg each day

Above 50

1200 mg each day

Women 18 years and over who are pregnant or breast-feeding

1000 mg each day

Foods that contain calcium

In this table, you can see that three glasses of milk and some vegetables will bring you to almost a full daily amount of calcium:



250 mL (1 cup) milk (whole, 2%, 1%, skim, chocolate)

300 mg

125 mL (½ cup) cooked kale

49 mg

250 mL (1 cup) calcium-fortified orange juice

300 mg

105 grams (½ can) canned salmon with bones

240 mg

125 mL (½ cup) cooked broccoli

33 mg

3 cm cube mozzarella cheese

200 mg

Other foods that include calcium are sardines (with bones), calcium-enriched tofu, mustard greens, oranges, figs and kidney beans – among many others.

How much vitamin D do you need?

Keep in mind that while you're increasing your calcium, you also need enough vitamin D for the calcium to be absorbed effectively. Osteoporosis Canada recommends 400 IU to 1000 IU of vitamin D for healthy adults between 19 and 50 years of age and 800 IU to 2000 IU for adults over 50. Larger doses may be required for people of any age if they have conditions associated with low vitamin D levels. Doses of up to 2000 IU are considered safe.

There are many ways that we get vitamin D. You can get vitamin D from the sun each year from April to September in Canada. Remember to use sunscreen to reduce damage from the sun's rays. We also absorb vitamin D from foods like milk, cod liver oil, and salmon.

However, since there are few foods that contain vitamin D, it is often recommended to get additional vitamin D from supplements. You can purchase vitamin D supplements usually in the form of vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol. Keep in mind that although multivitamins and calcium supplements may contain vitamin D, it’s important to check the label to see how much vitamin D is in each product.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2024. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source:

Share this page

facebook twitter linkedin