[Calcium&Magnesium Episode 1] This is because when female hormone secretion stops, calcium is drained from the bones | Dr. Esther Lyuh

If you are post-menopausal, this is especially important

Without minerals, there is no life

What better way to describe minerals than to be born in the soil and return to the soil? Minerals such as calcium and magnesium play a role as coenzymes in many metabolisms, including cell-to-cell signal transmission, while constituting bones.  Life on Earth cannot exist without minerals. However, due to chemical fertilizer-based agriculture and excessive grain milling, mineral intake has fallen to a serious level, threatening modern people's health.

However, those who are lacking in the Korean diet

The two minerals most likely to be deficient today are calcium and magnesium. Calcium and magnesium, nicknamed 'the hidden master of metabolism', help hundreds of metabolism and improve human body functions. Considering the Korean diet, supplements containing calcium and magnesium are required separately.  Even in dairy-rich countries like the United States, many people are deficient in calcium and magnesium. If you look at the second column from the top of the Harvard School of Public Health food pyramid, there is a sign telling you to take calcium supplements if needed. In the United States, the recommended daily intake for adults is 1,000 mg of calcium and 420 mg of magnesium (320 mg for women). It's not enough to pack all of these minerals in one multivitamin.

Let's start with Calcium...

Calcium lacking in Koreans Shall we learn about calcium first? 24% of Americans who take supplements take their calcium supplements.  It is the third most sought-after supplement after multivitamins and vitamin D preparations. According to the results of the US government's National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, adolescents (9 to 13 years old), women aged 14 to 18 years, middle-aged women aged 51 to 70 years, and 70 years old It has been found that half of the older population consumes less than the recommended amount of calcium.


...the most scarce nutrients in Korea!

Our situation is a bit more serious. As a result of the 2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, Koreans consume only about 68.7% of the recommended daily amount of calcium. 68.3% of men and 73.9% of women consumed less than 75% of the recommended amount. It is more serious for adolescents and older adults. 76.5% of male adolescents, 83.8% of female adolescents, 74% of males aged 65 and older, and 85.7% of females aged 65 and older consumed less than 75% of the recommended amount. Along with vitamin D, calcium is the most deficient nutrient in Korea.  The decisive reason for the lack of calcium in our country is that people avoid dairy products. A cup of milk, yogurt, and cheese contains approximately 200 to 300 mg of calcium. This is why the US Department of Agriculture recommends that Americans consume 3 cups of milk and other dairy products a day.

Especially those who need to eat...

Calcium is most needed by postmenopausal women and adolescents.  Osteoporosis occurs when the ovaries stop secreting female hormones due to menopause, and calcium is lost from the bones. During adolescence, bones need to grow, so supplementing with calcium is helpful.

Speaking of calcium and bones...

It is a very reasonable action for women after menopause to take calcium supplements to prevent bone diseases such as osteoporosis.  However, unlike a bone building, taking calcium for height is a slightly different matter. Indeed, you don't grow taller if you don't get enough calcium, but eating a lot of calcium doesn't make you taller. Genes are involved in a large part of height, and other nutrients such as calcium and protein collectively affect it. A genetically-born short stature means that eating calcium will not make you taller. Calcium is a necessary condition for height growth, but not a sufficient condition. You shouldn't eat a lot of calcium supplements simply to increase your height.


Esther Lyuh, Doctor of Preventive Medicine, Seoul National University