Osteoporosis is a medical condition in which the bones become brittle and fragile from mineral loss.

It is typically a result of hormonal changes, a lack of calcium or a deficiency of vitamin D.

Inova Pharmaceuticals launched its Big O campaign to increase awareness about osteoporosis and the important role that calcium plays in bone health.

The pharmaceutical company said calcium is a critical part of bone tissue – calcium is what makes your skeleton so hard and strong.

But your body also uses your skeleton as calcium storage, and if it doesn’t get enough from its diet it takes calcium from the bones.

This leads to the gradual loss of calcium, causing the bones to become brittle and weak. This is osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis mainly affects the spinal column and hips.

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation SA, osteoporosis leads to weakness of the skeleton and increased risk of fracture – particularly of the spine, wrists, hip, pelvis and upper arms.

The bone loss is gradual and has no warning signs until the disease is advanced. It is a silent disease.

Prof Tess van der Merwe, honorary clinical professor and researcher at the University of Pretoria, said we need to take calcium supplements at a young age.

“People who achieve peek bone mass before 21 will have healthy bones for life.

“Do a mix of resistance training with aerobic exercises. Cut back on red meat and never smoke!”

It’s important to take calcium from foods and beverages. Taking the right calcium supplement is a great way to increase your calcium intake. Supplements contain large amounts of raw calcium which dissolves easily in the digestive process.

Osteoporosis risks

Osteoporosis risks include obesity, menopause, lactose intolerance, any marginal or radical change in diet, pregnancy and breast feeding, chronic gastrointestinal disease, bariatric or obesity surgery such as gastrectomies or bowel resections, people getting chemotherapy or hormonal treatment for cancer, as well as many other various chronic medications.

“Our current diets have made women too fat with too little vitamin D and fatty livers. We need to exercise more to stimulate bone formation.”

The B-Cal range includes calcium with vitamin D3 and magnesium, calcium and vitamin D3, as well as bulk calcium with a mixed range of vitamins and minerals.