The bones play quite a few important roles in the human body. They provide structural support; they keep muscles anchored so they can use the principle of the fulcrum to lift and bend, to turn sideways and push and pull. They also are the prime depository for the body’s calcium supplies. That’s why pediatricians stress good bone health for infants, children, and teenagers. The earlier a healthy bone regime is in place the more likely it is that the bones will remain healthy and strong into adulthood and old age.
The human skeleton does not remain inert once it reaches the adult stage. New bone material is constantly being created as old bone and bone marrow is broken up and swept away by the blood stream. As children grow, their skeleton produces more bone than it breaks apart — that’s one of the main reasons for the remarkable growth spurts in so many adolescents. Bone mass increases until about the age of thirty. After that the bones slow down and it’s only with a calcium rich diet that the human body can maintain good bone density.
Dairy products are essential to good bone health. Those who are lactose intolerant can use soy milk and calcium rich foods such as canned salmon or broccoli. The rule of thumb is really very simple: There’s no such thing as too much calcium in a diet, as long as it comes from food, not chemical supplements.