Perhaps you drink milk, buy calcium-fortified orange juice and take a daily calcium supplement. Well, according to a recent study published in the August issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, your other food choices may determine how much calcium your body actually absorbs. The study found that women who consumed the most fibre and the least amount of fat absorbed 19% less calcium than women who ate more fat and less fibre. Overall, calcium absorption ranged from 17% to 58%, the report indicates.
Women with a higher body mass index (weight in relation to height) and higher blood levels of vitamin D, which aids in calcium absorption, also absorbed more of the mineral. Fibre, alcohol, exercise and total calcium intake were associated with lower levels of calcium absorption. The researchers suggest that a high-fibre diet may speed the movement of food through the intestine, allowing less time for calcium absorption to occur. Future studies should investigate the interaction of dietary calcium, fat and fibre and calcium absorption. The researchers commented that in the future, recommendations for calcium intake might be based specifically on a woman's ability to absorb the calcium. In the meantime, women aged 19-50 years need 1000 mg of calcium per day. Those over 50 years should be consuming 1200 mg of the mineral each day.
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