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Rosemary

 

Botanical Name: Rosmarinus officinalis
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Rosmarinus
Species: R. officinalis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Common Name: Rosemary

Habitat: Rosemary is native to Mediterranean region. Now it is growing in most places of the world.
Description:
Rosemary, is a woody, perennial herb with fragrant, evergreen, needle-like leaves and white, pink, purple, or blue flowers, native to the Mediterranean region. It is a member of the mint family Lamiaceae, which includes many other herbs. The name “rosemary” derives from the Latin for “dew” (ros) and “sea” (marinus), or “dew of the sea”. The plant is also sometimes called anthos, from the ancient Greek world, meaning “flower”. Rosemary has a fibrous root system.

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Rosemary leaves are similar to hemlock needles. The leaves are used as a flavoring in foods such as stuffings and roast lamb, pork, chicken and turkey. It is native to the Mediterranean and Asia, but is reasonably hardy in cool climates. It can withstand droughts, surviving a severe lack of water for lengthy periods. Forms range from upright to trailing; the upright forms can reach 1.5 m (5 ft) tall, rarely 2 m (6 ft 7 in). The leaves are evergreen, 2–4 cm (0.8–1.6 in) long and 2–5 mm broad, green above, and white below, with dense, short, woolly hair. The plant flowers in spring and summer in temperate climates, but the plants can be in constant bloom in warm climates; flowers are white, pink, purple or deep blue. Rosemary also has a tendency to flower outside its normal flowering season; it has been known to flower as late as early December, and as early as mid-February.

Cultivation:
Since it is attractive and drought-tolerant, rosemary is used as an ornamental plant in gardens and for xeriscape landscaping, especially in regions of Mediterranean climate. It is considered easy to grow and pest-resistant. Rosemary can grow quite large and retain attractiveness for many years, can be pruned into formal shapes and low hedges, and has been used for topiary. It is easily grown in pots. The groundcover cultivars spread widely, with a dense and durable texture.

Rosemary grows on friable loam soil with good drainage in an open, sunny position. It will not withstand waterlogging and some varieties are susceptible to frost. It grows best in neutral to alkaline conditions (pH 7–7.8) with average fertility. It can be propagated from an existing plant by clipping a shoot (from a soft new growth) 10–15 cm (4–6 in) long, stripping a few leaves from the bottom, and planting it directly into soil

Edible Uses:
The leaves are used to flavor various foods, such as stuffings and roast meats. Fresh or dried leaves are used in traditional Italian cuisine. They have a bitter, astringent taste and a characteristic aroma which complements many cooked foods. Herbal tea can be made from the leaves. When roasted with meats or vegetables, the leaves impart a mustard-like aroma with an additional fragrance of charred wood compatible with barbecued foods.

In amounts typically used to flavor foods, such as one teaspoon (1 gram), rosemary provides no nutritional value. Rosemary extract has been shown to improve the shelf life and heat stability of omega 3-rich oils which are prone to rancidity.

Meditional Uses:
Rosemary contains substances that are useful for stimulating the immune system, increasing circulation, and improving digestion. Rosemary also contains anti-inflammatory compounds that may make it useful for reducing the severity of asthma attacks. In addition, rosemary has been shown to increase the blood flow to the head and brain, improving concentration.

Phytochemicals and traditional medicine:
Rosemary contains a number of phytochemicals, including rosmarinic acid, camphor, caffeic acid, ursolic acid, betulinic acid, and the antioxidants carnosic acid and carnosol.

In traditional medicine of India, extracts and essential oil from flowers and leaves are used to treat a variety of disorders.

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Other Uses:
Rosemary is used as a decorative plant in gardens where it may have pest control effects.

Folklore and customs:
In the Middle Ages, rosemary was associated with wedding ceremonies. The bride would wear a rosemary headpiece and the groom and wedding guests would all wear a sprig of rosemary. From this association with weddings, rosemary was thought to be a love charm.

In myths, rosemary has a reputation for improving memory and has been used as a symbol for remembrance during war commemorations and funerals in Europe and Australia. Mourners would throw it into graves as a symbol of remembrance for the dead. In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Ophelia says, “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance.” (Hamlet, iv. 5.) In Australia, sprigs of rosemary are worn on ANZAC Day and sometimes Remembrance Day to signify remembrance; the herb grows wild on the Gallipoli Peninsula.

Hungary water was first prepared for the Queen of Hungary Elisabeth of Poland to ” … renovate vitality of paralyzed limbs … ” and to treat gout. It was used externally and prepared by mixing fresh rosemary tops into spirits of wine. Don Quixote (Part One, Chapter XVII) mixes it in his recipe of the miraculous balm of Fierabras.

Mythology:
According to legend, it was draped around the Greek goddess Aphrodite when she rose from the sea, born of Uranus’s semen. The Virgin Mary is said to have spread her blue cloak over a white-blossomed rosemary bush when she was resting, and the flowers turned blue. The shrub then became known as the “Rose of Mary”

Known hazards:
The essential oil of rosemary is potent and should be avoided by pregnant and breastfeeding women. The oil may cause severe adverse effects including seizures when taken internally and may irritate the skin when applied externally.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosemary
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=75
http://www.kew.org/science-conservation/plants-fungi/rosmarinus-officinalis-rosemary

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Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease(CMT)

Alternative Names::Morbus Charcot-Marie-Tooth, Charcot-Marie-Tooth neuropathy, hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy (HMSN), hereditary sensorimotor neuropathy (HSMN), or peroneal muscular atrophy.

Definition:
Charcot–Marie–Tooth disease (CMT) is  an inherited disorder of nerves (neuropathy) that takes different forms. It is characterized by loss of muscle tissue and touch sensation, predominantly in the feet and legs but also in the hands and arms in the advanced stages of disease. Currently incurable, this disease is one of the most common inherited neurological disorders, with 36 in 100,000 affected.

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In 1886, Professor Jean Martin Charcot of France (1825-1893) and his student Pierre Marie (1853-1940) published the first description of distal muscle weakness and wasting beginning in the legs, calling it peroneal muscular atrophy.

Howard Henry Tooth (1856-1926) described the same disease in his Cambridge dissertation in 1886, calling the condition peroneal progressive muscular atrophy. Tooth was the first to attribute symptoms correctly to neuropathy rather than to myelopathy, as physicians previously had done.

In 1912, Hoffman identified a case of peroneal muscular atrophy with thickened nerves. This disease was referred to as Hoffman disease and later was known as Charcot-Marie-Tooth-Hoffman disease.

In 1968, CMT disease was subdivided into 2 types, CMT 1 and CMT 2, based on pathologic and physiologic criteria. CMT disease has been subdivided further based on the genetic cause of the disease.

•In CMT type 1, the peripheral nerves’ axons – the part of the nerve cell that transmits electrical signals to the muscles – lose their protective outer coverings, their myelin sheaths. This disrupts the axons’ function.

•In CMT type 2, the axons’ responses are diminished due to a defect within the axons themselves. CMT type 2, the less common of the two classes, can be further separated into at least six subtypes, caused by defects in different genes.

Symptoms:
Symptoms of the CMT usually begin in late childhood or early adulthood. Some people don’t experience symptoms until their early thirties or forties. Usually, the initial symptom is foot drop early in the course of the disease. This can also cause claw toe, where the toes are always curled. Wasting of muscle tissue of the lower parts of the legs may give rise to “stork leg” or “inverted bottle” appearance. Weakness in the hands and forearms occurs in many people later in life as the disease progresses.

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English: The foot of a person with Charcot-Mar...

English: The foot of a person with Charcot-Marie-Tooth. The lack of muscle, high arch, and hammer toes are signs of the genetic disease. This patient was diagnosed with CMT-1A. Deutsch: atrophischer Hohlfuß bei hereditärer motosensibler Neuropathie I (Charcot-Marie-Tooth) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Symptoms and progression of the disease can vary. Breathing can be affected in some; so can hearing, vision, and the neck and shoulder muscles. Scoliosis is common. Hip sockets can be malformed. Gastrointestinal problems can be part of CMT, as can chewing, swallowing, and speaking (as vocal cords atrophy). A tremor can develop as muscles waste. Pregnancy has been known to exacerbate CMT, as well as extreme emotional stress.

Neuropathic pain is often a symptom of CMT though, like other symptoms of CMT, it’s presence and severity varies from case to case. For some people, pain can be significant to severe and interfere with daily life activities. However, pain is not experienced by all people with CMT. When pain is present as a symptom of CMT, it is comparable to that seen in other peripheral neuropathies, as well as Postherpetic neuralgia and Complex regional pain syndrome, among other diseases

The most common symptoms of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease may include:

*Weakness in your legs, ankles and feet
*Loss of muscle bulk in legs and feet
*High foot arches
*Curled toes (hammertoes)
*Decreased ability to run
*Difficulty lifting your foot at the ankle (footdrop)
*Awkward or higher than normal step (gait)
*Frequent tripping or falling
*Decreased sensation in your legs and feet
*Numbness in the legs and feet

As Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease progresses, symptoms may not be limited to the feet and legs but may also involve the thighs, hands and arms. Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease generally doesn’t cause pain.

Causes:
Charcot–Marie–Tooth disease is caused by mutations that cause defects in neuronal proteins. Nerve signals are conducted by an axon with a myelin sheath wrapped around it. Most mutations in CMT affect the myelin sheath. Some affect the axon.

The most common cause of CMT (70-80% of the cases) is the duplication of a large region in chromosome 17p12 that includes the gene PMP22. Some mutations affect the gene MFN2, which codes for a mitochondrial protein. Cells contain separate sets of genes in their nucleus and in their mitochondria. In nerve cells, the mitochondria travel down the long axons. In some forms of CMT, mutated MFN2 causes the mitochondria to form large clusters, or clots, which are unable to travel down the axon towards the synapses. This prevents the synapses from functioning.

Risk Factors:
Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease is hereditary, so you’re at higher risk of developing the disorder if anyone in your immediate family has had the disease. Other causes of neuropathies, such as diabetes, may cause symptoms of or worsen Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease.

 

Complecations:
Complications of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease vary in severity from person to person, with foot abnormalities and difficulty walking generally being the most serious problems. Muscle weakness may also increase, and injury to areas of the body with decreased sensation may occur.

Diagnosis:
CMT can be diagnosed through symptoms, through measurement of the speed of nerve impulses (electromyography), through biopsy of the nerve, and through DNA testing. DNA testing can give a definitive diagnosis, but not all the genetic markers for CMT are known.CMT is first noticed when someone develops lower leg weakness and foot deformities such as foot drop, hammertoes and high arches. But signs alone do not lead to diagnosis. Patients must be referred to a neurologist or a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician (physiatrist). To see signs of muscle weakness the neurologist will ask patients to walk on their heels or to move part of their leg against an opposing force. In order to identify sensory loss the neurologist will test for deep tendon reflexes, such as the knee jerk, which are reduced or absent in CMT. The doctor will also ask about family history because CMT is hereditary. The lack of family history does not rule out CMT, but it will allow the doctor to rule out other causes of neuropathy such as diabetes or exposure to certain chemicals or drugs.

In 2010, CMT was one of the first diseases where the genetic cause of a particular patient’s disease was precisely determined by sequencing the whole genome of an affected individual. Two mutations were identified in a gene, SH3TC2, known to cause CMT. Researchers then compared the affected patient’s genome to the genomes of the patient’s mother, father, and seven siblings with and without the disease. The mother and father each had one normal and one mutant copy of this gene, and had mild or no symptoms. The offspring that inherited two mutant genes presented fully with the disease. Sequencing the initial patient’s whole genome cost $50,000, but researchers estimated that it would soon cost $5,000 and become common.

CMT is divided into the primary demyelinating neuropathies (CMT1, CMT3, and CMT4) and the primary axonal neuropathies (CMT2), with frequent overlap. Another cell involved in CMT is the Schwann cell, which creates the myelin sheath, by wrapping its plasma membrane around the axon in a structure that is sometimes compared to a Swiss roll.

Neurons, Schwann cells, and fibroblasts work together to create a working nerve. Schwann cells and neurons exchange molecular signals that regulate survival and differentiation. These signals are disrupted in CMT.

Demyelinating Schwann cells causes abnormal axon structure and function. They may cause axon degeneration. Or they may simply cause axons to malfunction.

The myelin sheath allows nerve cells to conduct signals faster. When the myelin sheath is damaged, nerve signals are slower, and this can be measured by a common neurological test, electromyography.

When the axon is damaged, on the other hand, this results in a reduced compound muscle action potential (CMAP).

There are many different genetic variants. Most cases are inherited as an autosomal dominant condition, but some are inherited in an autosomal recessive or x-linked pattern.

Treatment:
Although there is no current standard treatment, the use of ascorbic acid has been proposed, and has shown some benefit in animal models. A clinical trial to determine the effectiveness of high doses of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) in treating humans with CMT type 1A has been conducted. The results of the trial upon children have shown that a high dosage intake of ascorbic acid is safe but the efficacy endpoints expected were not met. In 2010, a study published in the Journal Science indicated that scientists had identified those proteins that control the thickness of myelin sheath. This discovery is expected to open the avenue to new treatments in the coming years.

The most important activity for patients with CMT is to maintain what movement, muscle strength and flexibility they have. Therefore, physical therapy and moderate activity are recommended but overexertion should be avoided. A physical therapist should be involved in designing a exercise program that fits a patient’s personal strengths and flexibility. Bracing can also be used to correct problems caused by CMT. Gait abnormalities can be corrected by the use of either articulated (hinged) or unarticulated, braces called AFOs (ankle-foot orthoses). These braces help control foot drop and ankle instability and often provide a better sense of balance for patients. Appropriate footwear is also very important for people with CMT, but they often have difficulty finding well-fitting shoes because of their high arched feet and hammer toes. Due to the lack of good sensory reception in the feet, CMT patients may also need to see a podiatrist for help in trimming nails or removing calluses that develop on the pads of the feet. A final decision a patient can make is to have surgery. Using a podiatrist or an orthopedic surgeon, patients can choose to stabilize their feet or correct progressive problems. These procedures include straightening and pinning the toes, lowering the arch, and sometimes, fusing the ankle joint to provide stability.

The Charcot-Marie-Tooth Association classifies the chemotherapy drug vincristine as a “definite high risk” and states that “vincristine has been proven hazardous and should be avoided by all CMT patients, including those with no symptoms.”

There are also several corrective surgical procedures that can be done to improve physical condition.

Genetic testing is available for many of the different types of Charcot-Marie-Tooth and may help guide treatment.

Lifestyle & Homeremedies:
Certain tactics may prevent complications caused by Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease and improve your ability to manage the effects of the disorder.

Started early and followed regularly, at-home activities can provide protection and relief:

*Stretch regularly. The goal of stretching is to improve or maintain the range of motion of your joints. Stretching improves your flexibility, balance and coordination. Stretching may also reduce your risk of injury. If you have Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, regular stretching can prevent or reduce joint deformities that may result from uneven pulling of muscle on your bones.

*Exercise daily. Exercising every day keeps your bones and muscles strong. Low-impact exercises, such as biking and swimming, are less stressful on fragile muscles and joints. By strengthening your muscles and bones, you can improve your balance and coordination, reducing your risk of falls.

*Improve your stability. Muscle weakness associated with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease may cause you to be unsteady on your feet, which can lead to falling and serious injury. Walking with a cane or a walker can increase your stability. Good lighting at night can help you avoid stumbling and falling.
Foot care is important
Because of foot deformities and loss of sensation, regular foot care is important to help relieve symptoms and to prevent complications:

*Inspect your feet. Daily inspection of your feet is important to prevent calluses, ulcers, wounds and infections.

*Take care of your nails. Cut your nails regularly. To avoid ingrown toenails and infections, cut straight across and avoid cutting into the nailbed edges. Consider regular professional pedicures.

*Wear the right shoes. Use shoes that fit properly and are roomy and protective. Consider wearing boots or high-top shoes for ankle support.

*Soak and moisturize the skin of your feet. Brief, daily cold and warm foot soaks followed by the application of moisturizing lotions keep the skin of the feet moist and pliable. This can be very effective in reducing neuropathic pain and foot discomfort.

Coping & Support:
Support groups, in conjunction with your doctor’s advice, can be valuable in dealing with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. Support groups bring together people who are coping with the same kinds of challenges, along with their families and friends, and offer a setting in which people can share their common problems.

Ask your doctor about support groups in your community. Your local health department, public library and telephone book and the Internet also may be good sources to find a support group in your area.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/physical_health/conditions/charcotmarietooth1.shtml
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/charcot-marie-tooth-disease/DS00557
http://www.genome.gov/11009201
http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1232386-overview

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Bone Drug Can Fight Breast Cancer

SAN ANTONIO: New research adds fresh hope that a drug that strengthens bones might also fight breast cancer. Women who were given the drug, Zometa, as part of their initial treatment had greater tumor shrinkage and were less likely to need radical surgery, according to a preliminary study reported Thursday at a cancer conference in Texas.

In June, doctors were stunned when a big study found that Zometa — given to prevent bone loss caused by certain cancer treatments — also greatly cut the risk that cancer would recur in women who developed the disease before menopause.

Cancer specialists are eagerly awaiting the final results of a second, ongoing study testing Zometa in 3,360 women who had breast cancer after menopause — a much more common situation.

Its leaders gave a mini-report Thursday on 205 participants who had chemotherapy to try to shrink their tumors before surgery.

Those given infusions of Zometa along with chemo had a third more tumor shrinkage and as a result, were less likely to need their whole breast removed versus just the lump, said study leader Dr. Robert Coleman of the University of Sheffield in England.

Eleven percent of Zometa takers had a complete response to treatment — no evidence of cancer in their breasts or lymph nodes — versus 6 percent of women given chemo alone.

Partial studies like this are not enough to change practice, but these results are surprising and deserve further testing, said Dr. Eric Winer of the Dana-Farber Cancer Center in Boston. Such significant benefits from the bone drug before surgery “is not something I would have expected,” he said.

Winer had no role in the work or financial ties to any breast cancer drugmakers. He also is a spokesman for the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the largest group of doctors who treat cancer.

The study was sponsored by Zometa’s maker, Swiss-based Novartis AG, and the study leader consults for the company. With doctor fees, a Zometa infusion can run more than $1,200. In the study it was given every three weeks for four to six months.

Known side effects of Zometa and other bone-building bisphosphonate drugs like Fosamax include bone, joint or muscle pain and in rare cases, jawbone decay. They are mainly used to treat osteoporosis.

Also at the conference, several reports strengthened evidence that newer hormone-blockers called aromatase inhibitors, or AIs, do a better job of preventing cancer recurrences and may give a slight survival advantage over the long-used drug tamoxifen.

These drugs work against estrogen, which helps most breast tumors grow, and are given for about five years after surgery for early stage breast cancer to prevent its return.

Tamoxifen has been used for decades and is sold in generic form for about $70 a month. The newer drugs cost around $300 and come in three brands: AstraZeneca PLC‘s Arimidex (anastrozole), Pfizer Inc.’s Aromasin (exemestane) and Novartis’ Femara (letrozole). They only work in women after menopause.

Doctors already know that women who take these newer drugs either as initial treatment or after a few years of tamoxifen have better chances of staying cancer-free. But which of these approaches is best is not known.

Results of a study led by Novartis consultant Dr. Henning Mouridsen of Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark mostly were a draw. There were trends toward improved survival for women starting on Femara, but the differences were so small they could have occurred by chance alone.

Specialists took issue with a separate analysis of that study, which hinted at a bigger benefit from starting on Femara. And pooled results of prior studies involving 20,000 women suggest that any such advantage is very small.

“At this point in time, there is a slight increase in survival in patients treated with AIs but it is not statistically significant,” said that study’s leader, Dr. James Ingle of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

“The only really fair interpretation is that all of these are the same,” and that women should include one at some point in their treatment as guidelines now recommend, Winer said.

About 90,000 women in the United States and many more worldwide each year face this decision, and key issues are cost and side effects.

Both drugs can cause hot flashes. Tamoxifen raises the risk of endometrial cancer and blood clots. The aromatase inhibitors can cause more bone loss, vaginal dryness, problems having sex, joint pain and muscle aches.

“Many of us think that overall, they’re drugs that are a little harder to take,” Winer said of the newer drugs.

“When you put it all together it’s almost a balancing act,” depending on each woman’s health history and risks, said Dr. C. Kent Osborne, a breast cancer specialist at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

The San Antonio Breast Cancer symposium is sponsored by the American Association for Cancer Research, Baylor and the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio .

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Sources: The Times Of India

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Vaccine For Cocaine Addiction

Two Baylor College of Medicine researchers in Houston are working on a cocaine vaccine they hope will become the first-ever medication to treat people hooked on the drug.

“For people who have a desire to stop using, the vaccine should be very useful,” said Dr Tom Kosten, a psychiatry professor who is being assisted in the research by his wife, Therese, a psychologist and neuroscientist. “At some point, most users will give in to temptation and relapse, but those for whom the vaccine is effective won’t get high and will lose interest.”

The vaccine, currently in clinical trials, stimulates the immune system to attack the real thing when it’s taken. The immune system – unable to recognize cocaine and other drug molecules because they are so small – can’t make antibodies to attack them. To help the immune system distinguish the drug, Kosten attached inactivated cocaine to the outside of inactivated cholera proteins.

In response, the immune system not only makes antibodies to the combination, which is harmless, but also recognizes the potent naked drug when it is ingested. The antibodies bind to the cocaine and prevent it from reaching the brain, where it normally would generate the highs that are so addictive.

“It’s a very clever idea,” says David Eagleman, a Baylor neuroscientist. “Scientists have spent the last few decades figuring out reward pathways in the brain and how drugs like cocaine hijack the system. It turns out those pathways are difficult to rewire once they’ve seen the drug. But the vaccine just circumvents all that.”

Kosten asked the Food and Drug Administration in December to green-light a multi-institutional trial to begin in the spring and is awaiting a response. Approval would mark a breakthrough in the treatment of cocaine addiction, which now mostly involves psychiatric counseling and 12-step programs. It presumably would be the final clinical hurdle before the vaccine – more than a decade in the making – might be approved for treatment.

Sources: The Times Of India

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How to Get the Calcium We Need

Adults who shrug off their calcium needs miss out on protective benefits — against broken bones, heart attacks, and cancer.

Calcium, the body’s most abundant mineral, plays a critical role in bone health, but it does much more than that. Calcium permits cells to divide, regulates muscle contraction and relaxation, keeps the heart beating and the brain working, plays an important role in the movement of protein and nutrients inside cells, helps control blood pressure, and is essential for blood clotting. Calcium also seems to protect against heart attacks and certain types of cancers.

“We evolved from the ocean, and the ocean is a high-calcium bath,” says Michael Holick, M.D., Ph.D., professor of medicine, dermatology, and physiology at Boston University Medical Center. “Living organisms used calcium for all types of purposes because it was readily available. But now that we’re on land, the lack of calcium in our environment poses a serious risk.”

The body maintains its blood calcium level at any expense, Holick says. So if you’re not absorbing enough calcium from what you eat to satisfy your body’s requirement, you’ll steal it from your bones.

In effect, the body uses its bones as a calcium bank.
“It constantly takes calcium from the bone and supplies it to the blood to make sure that all of these essential functions can continue,” explains Bernard P. Halloran, Ph.D., professor of medicine at the University of California San Francisco.

When you eat a piece of cheese, drink a glass of milk, or take a calcium supplement, the calcium is digested in the intestine, where vitamin D stimulates its absorption.
It then travels through the body in your blood, where it. s constantly deposited and withdrawn from bone. “It’s as if we put a thousand dollars worth of calcium into the bone each day and remove a thousand dollars worth each day,” says Halloran. “The bone stays in a steady state, but a amount of calcium goes in and out of it.” This ensures that the body always has a source of calcium when it needs it..…click & see

We are Never Too Old
Many adults shrug off the need for adequate calcium and feel it’s not necessary since they’re no longer building bone, a process that ends at about age 30. “But if you continue to consume an inadequate amount of calcium, you’ll gradually erode your skeleton to the point where, one morning, you’ll break a bone when you get out of bed,” warns Halloran.

According to one researcher, if adults simply added one more glass of milk and a cup of yogurt a day, and either walked or participated in some other form of weight-bearing exercise for 30 minutes a day, they could substantially reduce the incidence of broken bones resulting from osteoporosis.

Because vitamin D plays a role in the body’s absorption of calcium, consuming a sufficient amount is also crucially important and simple. Milk has been fortified with vitamin D, so if you drink milk you’re getting enough. And, since your body makes vitamin D when exposed to the sun’s rays, 15 to 30 minutes of sunlight on your face and hands two to three times a week will take care of it. If you don’t drink milk and the weather is gloomy, take a multivitamin that includes vitamin D. But never use supplements of this single vitamin unless your doctor recommends them; too much vitamin D can be toxic.

Good Sources of Calcium
Although the optimal amount of calcium isn’t known, “enough” according to the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences. Institute of Medicine, is 1,200 milligrams (mg) a day for adults over 50. The most readily available form of calcium is in dairy products.

But  we can get calcium from many other foods as well. Tofu, if prepared with calcium sulfate, is an outstanding source. Just one-quarter of a block gives you a substantial 553 mg. Don’t like tofu? Try whizzing it in a blender with some milk or juice, fresh fruit, and a bit of honey to make a nourishing and delicious smoothie. Leafy green vegetables, calcium-fortified fruit juices, canned sardines, and canned salmon with bones are all good sources. Even carrots and green peas contain calcium. To up your consumption of calcium in a way you won’t even notice, add dry milk to soups or sauces. Just one-quarter cup of dry milk provides 375 mg of calcium.

Debunking Myths
“Milk is a poor source.” Some people believe that drinking milk is not a good way to get calcium because the protein in it carries away the calcium in urine. “Here’s the story,” says Holick. “The body metabolizes the sulfur amino acids in protein and releases sulfuric acid. And that acid, which is excreted in urine, takes calcium along with it.” So it does have a marginal effect on bones. However, if you get enough calcium in your diet, you can more than offset any loss.

“Coffee saps calcium.” A while back, reports warned that drinking caffeinated coffee would leach calcium from bones. “But a nicely done study shows that the amount of calcium in the milk you put into your coffee is enough to make up for the minuscule amount of calcium lost,” Holick says.

“Calcium causes kidney stones.” In the past, people whose risk of kidney stones was high were told to limit the amount of calcium they ate because the stones are made from calcium salts. But current thinking has it that calcium from food actually decreases the risk of kidney stones.

The most important message about calcium is also the simplest: Make sure you get an adequate amount. You don’t have to count milligrams with every bite, but learn which foods are rich in calcium and make them a regular part of your diet. And, to guarantee that the calcium you eat becomes available to your body, get sufficient vitamin D, via the sun or in a multivitamin tablet.

How much calcium is in … ?
Both men and women over age 50 should be eating 1,200 mg of calcium a day. The chart below shows the calcium content of some common foods:-

Food………………….Amount…………………..Calcium
Yogurt..…………………….1 8-oz container……………….. 400
Low-fat milk..…………1 8-oz.glass………………………… 300 mg
Calcium-fortified juice…1 8-oz.glass………………….300 mg
Swiss cheese..…………1 1-oz.slice…………………………… 270 mg
Sardines with bones.……3 oz……………………………….200 mg
Broccoli….……………….1 cup………………………………………75 mg
Green beans.…………..1 cup………………………………………60 mg
Orange………………..1pce…………………………………………….50 mg

From New Choices (Reader’s Digest)