The mineral that is critical for women of all agesMinerals-although only in relatively small amounts-are absolutely essential to the body's normal mental and physical functioning. The body's only source for minerals is diet-it must provide an adequate daily supply to maintain optimum health and fitness. The mineral content of food is dependent on the mineral available in the soil and, in some foods; minerals are included in compounds that the body cannot break down. Spinach, for example, is a rich source of calcium but it is not in a form that the body can utilize. Today researchers are reporting alarming statistics of widespread mineral deficiencies through out the world. The foods that are rich source of minerals such as dairy foods are also high in fat and cholesterol and are often not popular in the diets of many adults.
Supplementation of minerals is increasingly an urgent necessity in the diets on many people-this is particularly seen in the amount of calcium which must be taken by women for protective benefits in many conditions. According to a recent study conducted with more than 45000 women, calcium supplementation can significantly reduce the risk of colon cancer and the combination of dietary and supplemental calcium resulted in the greatest effect. While women consuming more than 800mg of dietary calcium each day reduced their risk of colon cancer by 26%, women who consumed more than 800mg of calcium through a combination of diet and supplementation reduced their risk of colon cancer by 46%. "It is especially notable that the risk reduction was present regardless of the source of the calcium, and that simultaneously consuming high levels of calcium from both diet and supplements further reduced risk," said Dr. Andrew Flood of the University of Minnesota Cancer Center and School of Public Health. "Calcium has a direct impact on a whole series of biochemical pathways within the cells that line the colon and rectum. These pathways play important roles in regulating how these cells grow and mature, and thus can be important components of the cancer process."
In addition to cancer prevention, calcium has long been linked to the prevention of osteoporosis, and new research indicates that calcium supplements should begin at an earlier age than previously believed. Over a period of seven years, Dr. Velimir Matkovic, Director of the Osteoporosis Prevention and Treatment Center and the Bone and Mineral Metabolism Laboratory at Ohio State University, conducted a clinical trial of girls aged eight through thirteen to determine the impact of calcium supplementation on bone density. Dr. Matkovic explains, "The pubertal growth spurt accounts for about 37 percent of the gain in the entire adult skeletal mass, meaning inadequate calcium intake during the period compromises the bone mineral accumulation rate." Researchers found that calcium supplementation significantly increased bone mass development. Of the 354 girls in the study, the calcium-supplemented group showed a faster rate of bone mass development. These findings suggest that elevated calcium use by pre-adolescent girls is likely to help prevent fractures and osteoporosis later in life.