The Truth About Calcium and Bone Health After Menopause

4 min read

Here's what you should know about bone health after 50.
Here's what you should know about bone health after 50.

It’s probably not very surprising that as your body moves through the physical changes of menopause, your nutrient needs begin to change as well—and calcium is kind of Exhibit A. It all comes down to estrogen, which actually helps out a lot with calcium absorption. But when estrogen levels take a major dip in menopausal and postmenopausal women, it becomes a little trickier for bones to get enough calcium.

So the answer is simply “more calcium,” right? Not so fast—it’s not necessarily about the amount of calcium intake itself, but the way we absorb it. Learn about the helper nutrients that help with calcium metabolism, and why calcium supplementation might not necessarily be the way to go when it comes to supporting bone health in postmenopausal women.

Food first

We actually get quite a bit of the calcium we need through diet alone: foods like milk and other dairy products, lentils, sardines, leafy greens like kale and collards, and some nuts and seeds are all pretty rich in dietary calcium.

We formulate all of our vitamins with a food-first approach in mind—we’re big believers in filling the gaps in your diet without overdoing it, so you’re not getting a bunch of nutrients you don’t necessarily need. That said, while some studies show that women over 50 don’t necessarily get all the calcium they need through dietary sources alone, our researchers have noted a debate among the scientific community about the current recommended daily allowance for calcium possibly being too high—and some argue that there might be potential risks associated with going overboard on calcium supplements for postmenopausal women. (In other words, too much calcium can definitely be a thing.)

“We at Ritual keep a close analytical eye on emerging science on calcium and its role in aging,” says Dr. Mastaneh Sharafi, PhD, RD, and Ritual’s Director of Scientific Affairs. “We encourage our customers to rely on food sources such as dairy and dairy substitutes, dark green vegetables, nuts and beans as part of a healthful, balanced diet.”

But paying attention to the foods you eat is also just one part of the equation. The other part is focusing on nutrients that help with calcium absorption when estrogen can’t anymore.

Say hello to these helper nutrients

Meet vitamin D, vitamin K2, magnesium, and boron: your all-star team of calcium helpers. These nutrients play a role in transporting calcium and helping out with absorption. So even though calcium likes to take all the credit, these nutrients are working hard behind the scenes to support the calcium you’re already getting through your diet.*

Vitamin D: Vitamin D3 helps with calcium absorption from your diet. And since research suggests that most of us don't have optimal levels of this essential nutrient, vitamin D supplementation can be a good idea. Our upcoming Essential for Women 50+ contains 2000 IU of vitamin D.

Vitamin K2: Vitamin K works to support overall bone health and calcium metabolism.* Because vitamin K plays an important role in maintaining bone health, you should look for this keynutrient in your postmenopausal multivitamin.

Magnesium: Magnesium works to support calcium absorption and bone maintenance and health.* But that's not all. It also plays a role in vitamin D metabolism—and since vitamin D helps out with calcium absorption too, magnesium is kind of a bone health multitasker.

Boron: Boron is yet another buddy to calcium: this helper nutrient has been getting recent attention for its properties related to bone health.

Because calcium absorption is so important during this phase of life, we really wanted to focus on these helper nutrients that help calcium metabolism rather than piling on more calcium, particularly because of the controversy surrounding calcium over-supplementation. So, want to give these unsung heroes the applause they deserve? Keep an eye out for vitamin D, vitamin K2, magnesium, and boron in Essential for Women 50+, which includes all four of these calcium helper nutrients (along with four others) to help support healthy aging from within. (And as always, working with your healthcare provider through this transition is never a bad idea.)

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.