Senior Times

Osteoporosis is commonly thought of as an older women’s disease, even though it affects both sexes and all age groups. Osteoporosis is known as the “Silent “disease because there are no signs or symptoms prior to a person breaking a bone. Osteoporosis is a thinning of the person’s bones which results in bones breaking very easily. It is estimated that 300,000 people in Ireland have Osteoporosis. 50% of women and 25% of men over 50 will break a bone from Osteoporosis. There are many causes of Osteoporosis, which include low levels of vitamin D and Calcium.  Vitamin D is necessary for Calcium absorption and low levels of vitamin D have also been lined to falls in senior citizens.

However 74.5% of the population has a vitamin D intake below the recommended level. At particular risk are mums to be, women, the elderly and children.

There are many myths concerning Osteoporosis and one of the most common is that bone fragility is a natural occurrence as people age. Poor bone health is not an automatic part of ageing and  research shows that a healthy diet and regular exercise regimes are very important for people to protect their bones. Three nutrients, in particular are needed for strong bones and teeth:
• Calcium – our bodies contain about 1kg of calcium, 99% of which is the bones and teeth. Milk and dairy products are the main source.
• Vitamin D – this is needed to help in the absorption of calcium and in the incorporation of calcium into the bones.
• Protein – both too little and too much can affect bone health. An average adult should eat around 61grammes of protein each day.

Risk of health problems from low vitamin D levels
Many people do not get the recommended daily amounts of vitamin D. The main source of Vitamin D is the action of sunlight on a person’s skin. However due to Ireland’s northerly latitude, and the fact that we have had very little sun over the last few years, the skin synthesis of vitamin D has been reduced. Prevention of skin cancer and use high factor sun block, is also a reason why when there is sun, people are not availing of it.

There are not many foods that contain Vitamin D: Fortified milks, yogurts, chicken livers, egg yolks, oily fish and some spreads and cereals. 

Researchers have found that vitamin D intakes in Ireland can be very low. More thanone in two women do not get enough vitamin D.2 Vitamin D intakes are considerably lower than the European RDA of 5 micrograms (5µg) daily with adult women consuming on average just 3.3 micrograms daily from diet alone and older women over the age of 65 years consuming 3.4 micrograms.3 A quarter of adults have blood levels of vitamin D that are too low to sustain normal bone health. This puts them at risk of bone health issues such as fractures.

Calcium and vitamin D throughout life
Low levels of calcium and vitamin D can affect bone health but also a person overall health. Several studies have found links between poor diet, low intakes of calcium and vitamin D, and poor bone health. Higher calcium and vitamin D intakes among teenagers have been linked to higher bone densities in young adulthood.4 Increasing intake of calcium and vitamin D has also been linked with reduced rate of bone loss in people aged 50 years and over.5


To help tackle vitamin D and calcium dietary shortfalls in the Irish diet, Yoplait, one of the leading yoghurt company is launching a new yoghurt – Cal-in+. Cal-in+ contains 100% of the EU RDA for vitamin D (5μg) and 50% of the RDA of calcium in just one pot (125g). 
Cal-in+ comes in three delicious flavours: strawberry, vanilla and apricot

To investigate the potential for Cal-in+ on bone health, a randomised double-blind controlled study* was conducted among 60 elderly women living in care homes. Half of the women ate two pots of Cal-in+ 125g every day, over a 56-day period and the other half consumed two pots of non-fortified control yoghurt. At the end of the trial (Day 56), serum levels of 25 hydroxyvitamin D increased significantly in the Cal-in+group compared to the control group. The corresponding changes in PTH and in the bone resorption markers CTX and Trap 5b significantly decreased in the Cal-in+ group compared to the control group.

*Yoplait; Cal-in+ clinical data on file

Numerous studies show that vitamin D is crucial for good bone health, as well as being involved in many other areas of wellbeing. Low levels of vitamin D and calcium are a key factor in causing osteoporosis, a condition in which bone density (quality of bone) falls to dangerous levels, hugely increasing the risk of fractures. Osteoporosis is a major problem in Ireland, causing fractures (broken bones) which results in pain, disability, loss of independence and premature death. The statistics for hip fractures are alarming. 20% of people aged 60+ who fracture a hip will pass away within 6-12 months due to complications. 50% of people, who fracture their hip aged 60+, will not be able to wash, dress or walk across a room unaided.1This is why it is essential that everybody ensures to take the daily amounts of calcium and Vitamin D.

Products like Cal-in+, which provide 100% of the vitamin D RDA in just one 125g pot (i.e. 5 micrograms - EU) will make it much easier for people to get enough of this vital bone health nutrient. It is also notable that daily consumption of Cal-in+ will also provide 50% of the calcium RDA. As a result, Cal-in+ is set to help maintain healthy bones as part of a balanced diet.

Cal-in+ The Facts
• Each pot (125g) of Cal-in+ contains less than 125 kcals and less than 2.3g saturated fat.  
• Cal-in+ contains 100% of the RDA for vitamin D (5μg).
• Cal-in+ is a rich source of calcium, containing 50% (400mg) of the RDA of 800mg.
• Based on levels of nutrients found to be of benefit in studies, it is recommended that one to two 125g pots of Cal-in+ are eaten daily.
• Cal-in+ comes in three different flavours – strawberry, vanilla and apricot.
• The vitamin D and calcium in Cal-in+ help to maintain healthy bones, providing an easy and tasty way to get the daily amounts of these nutrients.

• The Recommended Retail Price for Cal-in+ is €2.49 for a pack of four yoghurts*.
• Cal-in+ is available in three different flavours – strawberry, vanilla and apricot.
• Cal-in+ is currently available from Tesco, Dunnes, Supervalu and Centra.
Cal-in+ will be available from Superquinn from the 18th of March.

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