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Throughout life, cells known as osteoblasts construct bone matrix and fill it with calcium. At the same time, other cells called osteoclasts work to tear down and resorb bone. This fine balance is regulated by many factors, including systemic hormones and cytokines. Bone mass reaches its peak by the middle of the third decade of life and plateaus for about ten years. During this time bone turnover is constant, with bone formation approximately equalling bone resorption.
As we age, this fine balance is lost. As women experience more hormone levels shifts than men, the osteoclasts gain the upper hand and bone mass begins to decrease. A part of it is lost before women reach menopause, yet the rate of loss can increase up to tenfold during the first five years after menopause. Bone density loss is not just associated with calcium deficiency, but also with an insufficient intake of nutrients, including magnesium and vitamin D.
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body, primarily found in bones and teeth. In bone formation, calcium forms crystals that provide strength to maturing bone. It is needed for more than just healthy bones. It is also important for muscle contraction, blood vessel contraction and expansion, the secretion of hormones and enzymes, and sending messages through the nervous system.
Magnesium is one of your body’s most important minerals. It is required as a cofactor in hundreds of enzymatic processes within cells. It helps to maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeps heart rhythm steady, supports a healthy immune system. This element also assists in maintaining blood sugar and healthy blood pressure levels, and is known to be involved in energy metabolism and protein synthesis. Magnesium is a major factor in relaxing the smooth muscles within the blood vessels, thereby promoting a healthy cardiovascular system. It positively influences the bone mineral matrix and its ability to metabolise minerals needed for repair and rebuilding.
Calcium and other minerals should not be taken in conjunction with fibre, because it can interfere with their absorption. It is also recommended to take calcium supplements during meals and with plenty of liquid, for better solubility. If taken once per day, then evening is the best time.