Calcium is a popular supplement, especially among women trying to prevent osteoporosis. In recent years, new science is calling into question some long-standing beliefs about calcium supplementation causing health professionals to wonder if it may do more harm than good. A 2007 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that calcium supplements did not reduce fracture rates among older woman, and may even be associated with increased rate of hip fractures.
Another area where the research is inconclusive is in the relationship between dietary intake of calcium and heart disease. An analysis involving 12,000 men published in JAMA Internal Medicine reported that intakes of more than 1,000mg supplemental calcium per day (from multivitamins or individual supplements) were associated with a 20% increase in the risk of death from cardiovascular disease (CVD). They authors of this study hypothesize that the surge in calcium in the blood after supplementation may facilitate the calcification of arteries, whereas calcium obtained from food is absorbed at slower rates and in smaller quantities than from supplements.
As health professionals we have a responsibility to teach patients and clients how to obtain nutrients from foods first, particularly since the scientific jury is out on this and other types of nutrient supplementation. Calcium can be found in a wide variety of foods like dairy products, sardines, salmon and dark leafy greens. Vitamin D is also imperative for bone health in conjunction with calcium because it promotes calcium absorption in the gut and maintains adequate serum calcium and phosphate concentration to enable normal mineralization of bone. Eggs are one of the few foods that are naturally a good source of vitamin D, meaning one egg provides at least 10 percent of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA), so an egg is a great food to serve in combination with calcium-rich foods. Each serving of the recipe below is an excellent source of calcium with a vitamin D boost since it pairs eggs with calcium containing cheese and spinach.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
6 eggs, beaten
2 Tbsp. finely shredded Parmesan cheese
4 individual round flatbreads (6-inch diameter) or 3 oval flatbreads (6×8-inches)
2 tsp. olive oil (optional)
1 cup grape or cherry tomato halves
½ cup thinly slices spinach or basil leaves
¾ cup shredded Italian cheese blend
Step 1: Heat oven to 450°F. Coat large nonstick skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium heat until hot
Step 2: Beat eggs and parmesan cheese in medium bowl until blended. Pour eggs into skillet. As eggs begin to set, gently pull the eggs across the pan with an inverted turner, forming large soft curds. Continue cooking – pulling, lifting and folding eggs-until thickened and some visible liquid egg remains. Do not stir constantly. Do not overcook.
Step 3: Place flatbread on baking sheet; lightly brush top side with oil, if desired. Top with scrambled eggs, tomatoes and spinach, dividing evenly. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Sprinkle with Italian cheese blend.
Step 4: Bake in 450°F oven until cheese is melting, about 5 to 6 minutes. Sprinkle with red pepper, if desired. Cut each pizza into 4 pieces, serve immediately.
Excellent Source: Protein, Vitamin A, Calcium and Choline
Good Source: Vitamin D, Folate and Iron
Calories: 343; Total Fat: 15 g; Saturated fat: 6 g; Polyunsaturated fat: 2 g; Monounsaturated fat: 3 g; Cholesterol: 296 mg; Sodium: 601 mg; Carbohydrates: 30 g; Dietary Fiber: 1 g; Protein: 20 g; Vitamin A: 1166.5 IU; Vitamin D: 62 IU; Folate: 44.6 mcg; Calcium: 236.4 mg; Iron: 3 mg; Choline: 223.8 mg
 Bischoff-Ferrari H, et al. Calcium intake and hip fracture risk in men and women: a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies and randomized controlled trials. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007; 86(6): 1780-1790
 Xiao Q, et al. Dietary and Supplemental Calcium Intake and Cardiovascular Disease Mortality The National Institutes of Health – AARP Diet and Health Study. JAMA Intern Med. 2013; 173(8): 639-646
 Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Vitamin D http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/
US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, 2011.USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 23. Online. Available at: Nutrient Data Laboratory Home Page, http://www.ars.usda.gov/main/site_main.htm?modecode=12-35-45-00. Accessed September 19, 2013.