Diet & Nutrition 7 MIN READ 114 VIEWS August 30, 2021

Calcium: Benefits, Uses, Risks, and Dosage

Written By Jyoti Jaswal

Why Do You Need Calcium?
Who Should Take Calcium Supplements?
Food Sources of Calcium
Benefits of Calcium
Calcium Tablet Side Effects
Dosage And How You Should Use It
Conclusion

Many people take calcium supplements in the hopes of improving their bone health.

They may, however, have disadvantages and even health hazards, such as increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

This article covers everything you need to know about calcium, including who should take them, the benefits they provide, and the hazards they pose.

Why Do You Need Calcium?

Calcium is required by the body to produce and maintain bone health. Your bones and teeth contain about 99 percent of the body’s calcium.

It sends nerve messages, releases hormones like insulin, and controls how muscles and blood vessels contract and expand in the blood.

If you don’t receive enough of it in your meals, your body takes it from your bones and teeth to use elsewhere, ultimately damaging your bone health.

So, how much calcium do you require daily?

The Institute of Medicine’s current guidelines are listed below, organized by age:

  • 1,000 mg each day for women under 50.
  • Men under the age of 70 should take 1,000 mg every day.
  • Women above the age of 50 should take 1,200 mg per day.
  • Men above the age of 70 should take 1,200 mg every day.

There are also calcium consumption limitations that should be adhered to. Individuals under the age of 50 are limited to 2,500 mg a day, while adults over 50 are limited to 2,000 mg a day.

It is feasible to obtain adequate levels of it through the best calcium foods. Dairy products, some leafy greens, nuts, legumes, and tofu are all rich sources of calcium.

People who don’t consume enough calcium-rich foods, on the other hand, may benefit from supplementation.

Who Should Take Calcium Supplements?

Your body will eliminate calcium from your bones if your calcium intake is low, making them fragile. Osteoporosis can arise as a result of this.

Many experts prescribe women to take calcium supplements after menopause because they are at an increased risk of developing osteoporosis.

As a result, older women are far more likely than younger women to take calcium supplements. They can help you get the appropriate quantity of calcium if you don’t get it from your food.

Calcium supplements may be beneficial if you:

  • Stick to a vegan diet.
  • If you eat a high-protein or high-sodium meal, your body may produce more calcium.
  • Have a medical condition, such as Crohn’s disease or inflammatory bowel disease, that inhibits your body from absorbing calcium.
  • They are given corticosteroids for an extended time.
  • Have Osteoporosis.

Food Sources of Calcium

Food is one of the finest natural sources of calcium.

If you think you lack in calcium, try adding more of these calcium rich foods to your diet:

  • Milk, cheese, and yogurt
  • Canned fishes with bones
  • Salmon or sardines 
  • Collards, spinach, and kale (leafy vegetables)
  • Tofu and edamame
  • Lentils and beans 
  • Fortified foods and drinks

Benefits of Calcium

Let’s take a look at some of the calcium benefits mentioned below:

May Help Prevent Bone Loss in Postmenopausal Women

Because estrogen levels drop after menopause, women lose bone mass.

Fortunately, vitamins may be of assistance. Several studies suggest that administering best calcium tablets for bones to postmenopausal women — typically 1,000 mg per day — can minimize bone loss by 1–2%.

The effect appears strongest among women who have a poor calcium intake, particularly in the first two years of supplement use.

Furthermore, there appears to be no added benefit to consuming higher amounts of calcium supplements. 

May Help With Fat Loss

Low calcium consumption has been linked to a higher body mass index (BMI) and a significant body fat percentage in research.

A recent study looked at the impact of giving obese and overweight college kids with quite low calcium intakes a regular 600-mg calcium supplement.

On a calorie-restricted diet, those given a daily supplement (600 mg of calcium) and 125 IUs of vitamin D shed more excess fat than those who were not.

Vitamin D is frequently prescribed in conjunction with foods high in calcium because it aids in absorption.

May Help Lower the Risk of Colon Cancer

According to one major study, calcium from milk products and medications may reduce the risk of colon cancer.

Similar findings were observed in a previous review of ten studies.

May Help Improve Metabolic Markers

Calcium supplements, particularly when combined with vitamin D, have been shown to enhance metabolic indicators in several studies.

In a 2016 study, 42 expectant mothers took calcium supplements. Several metabolic parameters, including blood pressure and inflammatory markers, improved.

Other studies have found that children whose mothers took calcium supplements while pregnant had lower blood pressure at the age of seven than children whose mothers did not.

More than 100 obese, vitamin D-deficient females with the polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) were randomly assigned to receive a calcium and vitamin D supplement in a recent study.

Markers of inflammation, insulin, and triglyceride levels all improved in those who took the medication.

Other studies have found no improvement in the metabolic profiles of people who used calcium and vitamin D supplementation.

Calcium Tablet Side Effects

Calcium supplementation, according to new research, may trigger some health concerns. However, the evidence is contradictory.

May Increase Risk of Heart Disease

The most contentious claim about calcium supplements is that they may raise the risk of certain kinds of heart disorders, such as heart attack and stroke.

Researchers have released conflicting studies on the influence of calcium on cardiovascular health over the last few years.

To evaluate the impact of calcium supplements on heart health, more solid evidence is needed.

Some doctors believe that taking calcium with vitamin D can help mitigate the hazards, but further research is needed.

High Levels May Be Linked to Prostate Cancer

High calcium levels have been associated with prostate cancer, while evidence on the subject is mixed.

Researchers discovered that high calcium consumption might well be connected to an elevated risk of prostate cancer in many studies, most of which were observational.

Nonetheless, a four-year randomized controlled trial that gave 672 men either a calcium supplement or a placebo daily found no evidence of an elevated risk of prostate cancer.

Those who consumed the supplement had a lower chance of developing prostate cancer.

Dairy products, according to another study, may be the source of the problem. The consumption of milk products, but not calcium supplements, was connected to an elevated risk of prostate cancer, according to a study of 32 papers.

Risk of Kidney Stones May Increase

Calcium supplementation may raise the risk of kidney stones, according to some findings.

More than 36,000 postmenopausal women were randomly assigned to receive a daily supplement containing 1,000 mg of calcium and 400 IU of vitamin D or a placebo pill in one trial.

The supplement users had a higher chance of kidney stones, according to the findings.

In addition, whereas supplement users in the study had a higher overall hip bone density, they did not have a lower incidence of bone fractures.

According to the Institute of Medicine, ingesting more than 2,000 mg of calcium per day from food or supplements is connected to an elevated chance of suffering from kidney stones.

According to some studies, calcium intake of 1,200–1,500 mg each day increases the incidence of kidney stones.

High Levels of Calcium in Your Blood

Hypercalcemia is a disorder marked by various unpleasant symptoms, notably stomach problems, nausea, irritability, and depression.

It can be caused by several factors, including dehydration, thyroid problems, and excessive calcium supplementation.

Vitamin D pills taken in excess might cause hypercalcemia by enabling your body to absorb extra calcium from your food.

Dosage And How You Should Use It

There are a few things to keep in mind if you take calcium supplements.

How Much Should You Take?

Calcium supplements can help bridge the gap between the amount of calcium you get from your food and what you require each day.

Remember that the daily suggested dose for most individuals is 1,000 mg, and for women over 50 and males over 70, it is 1,200 mg.

As a result, if you generally only get roughly 500 mg per day from food but require 1,000 mg, you can use one 500-mg supplement each day.

However, be cautious when deciding on a dose. Consuming more calcium than you require can lead to complications.

You May Need To Split Up The Dose

It’s critical to evaluate the calcium content of the supplement you purchase.

Your body can’t absorb big amounts of it all at once. In supplement form, experts recommend consuming no more than 500 mg at once.

Medication Interactions

If you’re using calcium supplements, make sure to inform your doctor and chemist because it can affect how your body processes certain medicines, such as antibiotics and iron.

Calcium fights for absorption with iron, zinc, and magnesium. If you need calcium supplements and lack any of those nutrients, try taking them during meals.

Calcium will be less likely to hinder the absorption of zinc, iron, and magnesium in your meal if you do it this way.

Dangers Of Too Much Calcium

Keep in mind that you only require 1,000–1,200 mg of calcium per day. It’s pointless to take more than that. When you do, you may encounter difficulties.

Constipation, hypercalcemia, calcium buildup in soft tissues and difficulty absorbing iron and zinc are just a few of the concerns that might arise.

Conclusion

Calcium supplements can benefit those at risk of osteoporosis and who don’t receive sufficient calcium in their diets.

While some studies imply a connection between calcium supplementation and heart disease, the evidence isn’t conclusive.

However, it is well recognized that consuming more calcium than is suggested from any source can increase your risk of kidney stones.
Calcium pills are generally fine in little doses, but having a calcium rich diet is the best way to go. Include a range of foods that contain calcium, especially non-dairy options, into your meals.

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