Calcium (mineral) is famous for its importance in fighting osteoporosis. Recent studies have shown that it lowers tension and prevents colon cancer. Modern diets are often very poor in Calcium, providing half of the daily amount needed.
What Calcium is:
Calcium – is an essential mineral, constituent of bones and teeth, it interferes with somatic functions such as blood coagulation and muscle contraction. It’s hard to eat enough Calcium-rich foods, but supplements can prevent hypocalcemia. Generally, Calcium is in the form of carbonate, citrate, gluconate, phosphate and Calcium lactate.
The amount of elemental Calcium – or pure from supplements varies. Calcium carbonate (used in antacids for indigestions) provides 40% of elemental Calcium, while Calcium gluconate supplies 9%: the lower the Calcium content, the more it takes more pills to get the recommended amounts.
How Calcium works:
Most of the Calcium in the body is stored in bones and teeth, providing them with structure and strength. The small amount of blood flow helps move nutrients along cell membranes and interferes in the production of hormones and enzymes that regulate digestion and metabolism.
Calcium (mineral) is also necessary for normal communication between nerve cells, blood coagulation, wound healing, and muscle contractions. To have enough quantity of this mineral in the blood to perform vital functions, the body will “steal” it from the bones. Over time, too much “withdrawal” of Calcium leaves the bones, porous and fragile. Only adequate daily consumption will maintain a healthy level in the blood and will provide enough extra Calcium for the bones to absorb it as a reserve.
Generally, the body absorbs Calcium and forms bone mass up to 35 years, but some studies have shown that people over 65 can maintain bone density and reduce the risk of fractures by taking supplements and consuming high-Calcium foods.
Calcium prevents osteoporosis, the disease that thinhes the bone mass, increases the risk of hip and vertebral fractures and leads to spine deformation and loss in height.
Calcium can reduce the incidence of colon cancer. Research shows that diets that include much Calcium – as well as fruits and vegetables – can be as effective in lowering blood pressure as some antihypertensive drugs. But patients do not have to replace regular calcium supplements with medication except at the doctor’s advice. Calcium can also be useful in treating premenstrual syndrome and menstrual pain.
How much do you need:
The recommended daily dose of Calcium is 700 mg for men and women, in some countries, the dose is 1000 mg for men and women between 19 and 50 years and 1200 mg for those between 50 and 70 years of age.
If you take too little:
A prolonged Calcium deficiency can cause bone abnormalities such as osteoporosis. Low levels of Calcium in the blood can cause muscle spasms.
If you take too much:
A Calcium supplement of 1500 mg of supplements seems to be safe. However, taking Calcium supplements may weaken the body’s ability to absorb Zinc, Iron and Magnesium. Very high doses of Calcium from supplements could lead to kidney stones. If Calcium carbonate supplements cause flatulence or constipation, they can be replaced with Calcium citrate.
Make sure you ingest the recommended amount of 700 mg of elemental Calcium per day from food, supplements or both. When taking Calcium, it is advisable to take also Magnesium supplements. So, if you take 500 mg of Calcium in your supplements, take 250 mg of Magnesium.
The richest sources of Calcium are dairy products, such as milk, yogurt and cheese. Semi-skimmed or skimmed varieties contain slightly more Calcium than high fat types. Calcium maleate fortified orange juice, canned salmon and sardines (eaten with soft bones and everything), broccoli and almonds are other sources of Calcium. A portion of 100 grams of cooked broccoli provides only twentieth part of the adult’s daily Calcium requirement.
– maintains the health of bones and teeth;
– prevents the progressive loss of bone mass and osteoporosis;
– can help lower blood pressure in people with hypertension;
– calms indigestion.
Forms of presentation:
– gelatin capsules;
– sick people of the thyroid or kidneys should take Calcium only at the advice of the doctor;
– Calcium may interact with some drugs, especially tetracyclines.
If you suffer from a disease, consult your doctor before taking supplements !
If you are over 65, buy calcium citrate. Older people often secrete too little stomach acid to absorb calcium carbonate.
Did you know:
Calcium can’t be absorbed without a sufficient amount of vitamin D, which is produced by the skin in response to sunlight.
Information and advices:
– avoid Calcium supplements made from dolomite, oyster shells and bone flour, they may contain a large amount of Lead;
– the body’s ability to turn sunlight into vitamin D decreases with age, so it’s advisable to include 10 mcg vitamin D in your daily diet – this may mean taking a supplement (such as one containing both calcium and vitamin D);
– your body can absorb only a fraction of spinach Calcium (the spinach contains large amounts of oxalate that blocks Calcium and limits the amount available to the body) – however, oxalate does not prevent Calcium absorption from other foods consumed at the same time.
- Ashwell, M., Bussell, G., Clasen, L., Egginton, J., Gibson, S., Govindji, A., McCleneghan, J., Wilcock, F., (2008), Vitamine, minerale si suplimente, Bucuresti, Editura Reader’s Digest
- Bourne, G.H., (1990), Aspects of some vitamins and minerals and enzymes in health and disease, Karger
- Lieberman, S., Bruning., N., P., (2007), The Real Vitamin and Mineral Book, 4’th edition, New York, Published by the Penguin Group
- Reavley, N., (1999), The New Encyclopedia of Vitamins, Minerals, Supplements and Herbs, Maryland, Bookman Press
- Sharon, M., (2009), Nutrients A-Z, London, Carlton Books Limited