Calcium & Estrogen

Estrogen, a hormone produced by a woman's ovaries, performs many vital functions among which is protection of bone tissue. During, after, and approaching menopause natural estrogen production declines dramatically. Without estrogen's protective effect, many women experience rapid bone loss, which may lead to osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is a debilitating and often painful disease that affects millions of women. In fact, one out of two women is at risk of developing osteoporosis during her lifetime. Osteoporosis is characterized by thinning of bone tissue which can facilitate fractures. There may be no symptoms or warning signs until actual bone fractures occur. Most bone is lost in the first three to six years after menopause.

Women who are entering menopause need to talk to their doctors about estrogen and bone loss. Many physicians recommend that women who undergo menopause or surgical removal of the ovaries be placed on estrogen replacement therapy (ERT). ERT makes up for, or replaces, the estrogen no longer produced by the ovaries. ERT is effective in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis because the estrogen supplied by ERT continues to protect bones much like natural estrogen did before menopause or surgery.

Calcium intake, combined with ERT and exercise, is an important factor in preventing osteoporosis after menopause. If you're on ERT, your physician may have explained that it's also important to consume a certain amount of calcium. In fact, taking Calcium with the ERT treatment makes it more effective for your bones. Calcium is important at all stages of your life because it's essential to your general health and the mineral that makes up your bones and keeps them strong. Proper amounts of calcium consumed throughout your lifetime help prevent osteoporosis.

The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends that after menopause women on ERT consume 1,000 mg. of calcium supplements daily and women not on ERT consume 1,500 mg. of calcium supplements daily.

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