How does estrogen affect calcium levels in bones?


Quick Answer

When the estrogen produced by the body is reduced, the bones inadequately absorb and utilize calcium. This resulting drop in calcium levels can lead to decreased bone mass and osteoporosis later in life, according to HealingWithNutrition.com.

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Full Answer

Women who are menopausal have naturally reduced levels of the estrogen hormone in their body. Other conditions that can cause a reduction in the estrogen levels are failed pregnancies, anorexia nervosa, excessive exercising, hypogonadism and hypopituitarism, according to WebMD. When the estrogen levels drop, the body is unable to absorb and utilize the calcium required to build bone mass and density. This is the most important contributing factor in the occurrence of osteoporosis, according to HealingWithNutrition.com.

Due to this, doctors often advise post-menopausal women to take estrogen replacement therapy. ERT can reduce the risk of osteoporosis if commenced within three to five years after the onset of menopause, according to HealingWithNutrition.com. ERT, however, carries the risk of causing some cancers, heart disease and gall bladder disease in addition to side effects such as nausea, water retention, tender breasts and digestive problems. To combat the effects of reduced estrogen on calcium, ERT has to also be complemented with calcium supplements and increased calcium intake through healthy nutrition.

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