Calcium

Calcium: Benefits, Uses, Risks, and Dosage

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.

Understanding Calcium Supplements – Their Role and Bioavailability

Calcium is one of the most essential nutrients required to support the optimal functioning of your body. It carries out important tasks such as circulating the flow of blood and oxygen and blood in your body, controlling the movement of the muscles and regulating the secretion. Additionally, calcium supplements are also responsible for ensuring the proper transmission of neural messages from the brain to the rest of your body.

One of the things that makes calcium supplements so important for your body is the fact that it is found in about 99% of our body, due to its presence in both our bones and teeth. Not getting the required amount of calcium could in fact lead to severe health complications. 

Sources Of Dietary Calcium

dietary calcium

Since your body is incapable of producing and synthesising calcium on its own, you will need to consume dietary calcium from external sources such as natural whole foods in order to meet the recommended calcium needs.

Given below is a small list of foods that are rich in calcium:

  • Dairy Products: milk, cheese, and yogurt
  • Dark Green Vegetables: kale, spinach, and broccoli
  • Fortified Foods: calcium-fortified breads, cereals, soy products, and orange juice

Bioavailability Of Calcium Supplements

The bioavailability of a nutrient refers to how easily and quickly it can be absorbed and digested by our body. Since calcium is a relatively large nutrient, it takes a bit longer to be broken down by the gut. This means that while you may be consuming a lot of calcium supplements on paper, your body is actually getting lesser amounts of calcium than you think you are.

calcium content


Fortunately, there are certain foods whose calcium content is more easily absorbable by the body than other sources. 

FoodServing sizeAverage calcium content (mg)8Estimated absorption (%)9-11Calcium absorbed (mg)Servings required to equal 250 mL (1 cup) of milk
Milk calcium
Milk calcium (whole, 2%, 1%, skim)250 mL (1 cup)31032.199.51
Cheddar cheese50g (1.5 oz)33732.1108.21
Yogurt175 mL (3/4 cup)27232.187.31
Vegetables (cooked)
Bok choy125 mL (1/2 cup)8453.845.22.25
Kale125 mL (1/2 cup)4949.324.24
Broccoli125 mL (1/2 cup)3361.320.25
Spinach125 mL (1/2 cup)1295.16.615.25
Nuts & seeds
Almonds60 mL (1/4 cup)9721.220.64.75
Sesame seeds60 mL (1/4 cup)2320.84.820.75
Legumes (cooked)
White beans125 mL (1/2 cup)8521.818.55.5
Pinto beans125 mL (1/2 cup)4226.711.29
Red kidney beans125 mL (1/2 cup)2624.46.315.75
Breads & Cereals
Whole wheat bread35 g (1 slice)268221.34.75
Wheat bran 27 g19387.213.75
Fortified foods
Orange juice with calcium 125 mL (1/2 cup)15536.356.31.75
Tofu, regular, firm or extra firm, raw (prepared with calcium sulphate)85 g171*31532
Soy beverage with tricalcium phosphate250 mL (1 cup)3192476.61.25**

One of the major disadvantages to consuming plant based sources of dietary calcium is that these foods sometimes contain compounds called anti nutrients. Nutrients such as oxalates and phytates attach themselves to the calcium that you consume and make it harder for your body to absorb them.

For example, a single bowl of spinach would give you about 250 milligrams of dietary calcium but it also contains a lot of oxalates which means that only 14 grams of calcium is actually being absorbed and utilised by your body. This is the case with other forms of calcium such as milk calcium as well.

This is not to say that you should stop consuming these foods altogether, The primary goal here is to optimize your consumption of calcium products in such a way that your daily calcium needs are met. One of the safest ways to do this is to consume a healthy balanced diet in combination with calcium supplements. 

Recommended Daily Allowance Of Calcium Supplements

The Indian Medical Association recommends that the average adult consume 1000 mg of calcium supplements a day in order to support optimal functioning of the body. However, the calcium needs also vary according to the age and physical condition of the concerned individual.  Always consult with a physician before supplementing your diet with any calcium products. 

What Happens If You Don’t Consume Enough Dietary calcium

Not maintaining the right intake of dietary calcium for a long period of time, a calcium deficiency can manifest in your body, affecting its ability to absorb nutrients of any kind. Given below are a few symptoms for the same:

  • Muscle cramps or weakness
  • Numbness or tingling in fingers
  • Abnormal heart rate
  • Poor appetite

Benefits Of  Consuming Calcium Supplements

Given below are some of the benefits of including calcium supplements in your daily nutritional intake:

  • Bone health: Calcium is required for maintaining the structural density and promoting the growth of bones in our body. It also helps in forming a protective layer of enamel around our teeth to prevent it from being affected by decay.
  • Muscle contraction: Our body is signalled to release calcium upon being stimulated by a nerve. This is required to aid the protein molecules in our body to stimulate contraction and expansion of muscles. 

Additionally, calcium supplements also help with reducing the bad cholesterol levels in our body and reducing the oxidative stress exerted on the heart. This helps in preventing health complications such as heart disease and obesity.

Head on over to www.healthkart.com for calcium products and other health products that can help you stay fit and healthy.