Rheumatoid arthritis is similar to many autoimmune conditions in that successfully living with it may require a considerable amount of lifestyle modifications. One of the foremost steps to help control the health risks associated with rheumatoid arthritis is managing one’s diet. In addition to limiting your intake of foods that may fuel RA complications and striving to take in more antioxidants and anti-inflammatory foods, you’ll also need to try to bolster your bone health through your diet. Getting enough calcium is important. Here’s how it can help.
In order to understand the importance of calcium for individuals with RA, one must first understand osteoporosis. This is condition that is caused by the absence of adequate nutrients to maintain bone health, and is common in older individuals, particularly women. According to the National Institutes of Health, individuals with RA may have a higher risk for bone loss and damage over time, which can lead to osteoporosis. One reason for this risk is that some of the medications prescribed to keep RA at bay can degrade bones over time.
Your body uses calcium to build strong bones, so it’s important to get enough. Eating calcium-rich foods such as milk and yogurt is best, but you may want to consider using supplements as well. For individuals under the age of 50, the Arthritis Foundation recommends taking in at least 1,000 milligrams of calcium each day. This increases to 1,200 milligrams for individuals who have passed the age of 50. Calcium supplements are available over the counter. Make taking these supplements a simple habit by doing so at the same time each day, such as with your breakfast.
It’s worth noting that not every individual will have the same treatment plan when it comes to using calcium to keep the negative manifestations of RA at bay. You’ll want to consult with your physician or rheumatologist before making any changes to your diet. These individuals have experience working with people who have RA and can make recommendations tailored to your specific case. Further, multiple sources have noted that consuming too much calcium may actually lead to other health complications, such as problems with the liver.