Nutrition and Healthy Bones
You can be at greater risk of falls if you do not have adequate nutrition. As you get older, it is particularly important to keep up your calcium and vitamin D intake to maintain strong bones and muscles.
Recent research has indicated that vitamin D with calcium can also help improve muscle strength, prevent bone loss and osteoporosis.
Assess your nutrition and bone health by asking yourself the following questions:
• Have I had a recent unintentional weight loss?
• Do I have osteoporosis?
• Do I have a poor appetite?
• Do I have difficulty getting groceries or preparing meals?
• Do I have less than three servings of calcium food sources a day?
If you have answered yes to any of the above questions, it is important to discuss these with a health care professional or family member.
• Eat a variety of calcium rich foods, such as: milk, cheese, yogurt, salmon, and green leafy vegetables.
• Follow the Canadian guidelines for safe supplementation of calcium and vitamin D for adults over the age of 50:
- 800-2,000 IUs of vitamin D per day
- 1200mg of calcium per day
• Tell your doctor if you experience reduced appetite or unexplained weight loss.
• If you are at risk for deficiency, seek advice from a dietician or your doctor about nutrition supplements.
• Contact a local senior services agency if you need help with shopping or meals.
• If you have osteoporosis, speak to your doctor about decreasing your risk of falling and contact your local health service for an osteoporosis support program.
The osteoporosis Canada guidelines for adults over the age of 50 who are at moderate risk of vitamin D deficiency, now recommend supplements of 800-2,000 IUs of vitamin D per day is considered safe to take without medical supervision.
Current guidelines for daily calcium intake for individuals over 50 years are 1200mg.
In addition, a recent report on evidence-based guidelines also suggest weekly and monthly doses of vitamin D (10,000 IU and 50,000 IU, respectively) as an option that may minimize the burden of pill-taking and more convenient for some individuals.
Information on many topics including: supplements, tips on how to eat to prevent or manage common chronic diseases, simple ways to eat with less salt and fat, how to read labels and how to keep a healthy body weight can be found in:
- Osteoporosis Canada
Call the Toll-Free Information Line:
- Health Canada: Vitamin D and Calcium