Supplements such as calcium, fish oils and Vitamin D, can play an important role in your health plan. But it is possible to take too many osteoporosis supplements?
I was working with a very motivated client and was surprised when I reviewed her intake of osteoporosis medications and supplements.
Osteoporosis Medication and Supplement Intake
Carla (not her real name) was determined to be as healthy as she could be. When I sat down with Carla during her initial evaluation, I discussed her medications and supplements. It was evident to me that her intake of supplements was excessive, that she was increasing her risk of a hip fracture and other side effects, and needed to dial back her intake of certain supplements.
After reading about the health benefits of Omega 3 fish oils, Carla decided to increase her intake of fish oils. Unfortunately, her choice of fish oil supplement could not have been worse. She started taking two halibut liver oil capsules a day. The “mega halibut” had a whopping 20,000 IU of Vitamin A. Plus, there were several more thousand IUs in her optometric vitamin supplement.
The recommended daily intake of Vitamin A for women is just over 3000 IU. She was taking close to 30,000 IU per day.
Carla also decided that she needed to increase her calcium levels to strengthen her bones. Her calcium intake was well over 1000 mg /day. Since Carla was a big milk drinker, she easily got 1200 mg from her diet alone. This brought her daily calcium intake to well over 2200 mg/day.
Carla is at a healthy body weight and does not have issues that would warrant her to see a dietician or nutritionist. We discussed the risks of excessive calcium (heart attacks) as well as excessive Vitamin A (hip fractures).
Rebalancing Osteoporosis Supplement Intake
In addition to reviewing and prescribing an exercise program, I advised Carla to switched to a cold water fish oil that is not high in Vitamin A (non liver oil) and to discontinue taking additional calcium supplements. Her intake is now more balanced.
As clinicians, we need to keep the whole person in the picture. Although our focus is an appropriate and safe exercise prescription, it is important that we be aware of the basics when it comes to bone health and monitor our clients carefully!
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