Women are constantly being told that they need to consume more calcium. But if you already include ample dairy in your diet, you likely don’t need a calcium supplement. In fact, popping a pill along with all the milk and yogurt you’re already eating could be dangerous, cautions Tasneem Bhatia, MD, integrative medicine expert and founder of CentrespringMD. “Getting 400 to 600 milligrams of calcium daily, or about what you’d find in a cup of 1% milk and a 6-ounce yogurt, can strengthen bones and improve sleep. However, consuming more than 1,200 milligrams per day can increase heart attack risk in postmenopausal women.” Popping too many calcium supplements may also cause hypercalcemia, a condition that can weaken bones, create kidney stones, and interfere with heart and brain health, according to the Mayo Clinic. Don’t miss these six vitamin myths you need to stop believing.
Studies suggest that women who do not get enough essential fatty acids—including omega-3s—are at an increased risk of bone loss than those who regularly include fatty acids in their diets, say University of Maryland Medical Center. In fact, in one study of women over 65 with osteoporosis, those who took a GLA supplement (a type of omega-3) had less bone loss over a three-year period than those who received a placebo. However, omega-3s are also potent blood thinners, so women on blood thinning medications should avoid them, Dr. Bhatia cations. “Taking too many blood thinners results in bruising, prolonged bleeding, and brain bleeds.”