Calcium and Vitamin D Important for Girls
Calcium and vitamin D supplements may help girls build bone mass to protect against osteoporosis in old age
Most people consider thinning, weak bones (osteoporosis) a problem for older people only, but building strong bones in kids is one of the best ways to limit later risk of the disease. It is especially important for girls and young women to build plenty of bone mass early in life to protect against osteoporosis in old age. Another study suggests that calcium and vitamin D supplements may be one way to do this.
Twin supplement study
Researchers invited 20 pairs of 9-to-13-year-old female, identical twins into a study on how calcium and vitamin D supplements affect bone mass and strength in young girls. One twin out of each pair was randomly selected to take a daily supplement containing 800 mg of calcium and 400 IU of vitamin D. The other twin received a placebo pill (no calcium or vitamin D).
The study was blinded, meaning none of the girls knew which pill she was taking. All of the girls were tested before and after the study to determine the density and amount of bone in arms and legs.
After six months, compared with the group of twins receiving the placebo, the girls taking 800 mg of calcium and 400 IU of vitamin D daily experienced:
Building strong bones
This study suggests that a daily calcium and vitamin D supplement can improve bone mass and strength in young girls. Use the following tips for safe use of calcium and vitamin D, and to make sure you enhance bone building in your kids.
(Osteoporos Int 2011; 22:489-98)
Suzanne Dixon, MPH, MS, RD, an author, speaker, and internationally recognized expert in chronic disease prevention, epidemiology, and nutrition, has taught medical, nursing, public health, and alternative medicine coursework. She has delivered over 150 invited lectures to health professionals and consumers and is the creator of a nutrition website acclaimed by the New York Times and Time magazine. Suzanne received her training in epidemiology and nutrition at the University of Michigan, School of Public Health at Ann Arbor.