Dr. Andrew Weil thinks we've had things out of balance where calcium is concerned. Women have been told so many different things, it's hard to know what to do.
Dr. Weil thinks that calcium should be taken with vitamin D to aid in the proper absorption of calcium. He also reassures women who don't drink milk that they can still get plenty of calcium from other sources such as dark leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables.
(Transcribed from video interview)
First of all I think women have been made crazy about calcium. They don’t know how much to take, what kind of calcium to take.
Women are at higher risk for losing mineral density from bones at earlier ages than men because women’s sex hormones begin to decline in midlife and that affects calcium status.
We have been telling women to take very large doses of supplemental calcium. That may be way too much.
There is some very good research showing that countries with the highest calcium intake have the highest rates of bone fractures, hip fractures, and also the countries with the highest rates of dairy intake have the highest rates of hip fracture. Now that’s pretty astounding news but that’s the fact.
I think the key to calcium balance is vitamin D. If women get enough vitamin D they should be able to maximally absorb and use calcium from their diets.
There are many dietary sources of calcium other than milk and dairy products although milk and dairy products in moderation are fine.
But there are dark leafy greens like collards, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, sesame seeds – there are many dietary sources.
Also things like sardines mashed up with the bones, which are very good.
And you can get vitamin D by exposure to sunlight which done carefully and intelligently is your best way to get it.
I think also everybody should be taking 2000 IU a day of vitamin D as a supplement. You have to take that with your largest meal so that it will be absorbed, needs fat to be absorbed.
And on top of that I recommend that women take no more than 500 to 700 milligrams of supplemental calcium.