How Important are Calcium Supplements?
Calcium is an important nutrient for the growth and development of your bones throughout your existence. Though calcium can be easily gotten from food, however, adopting calcium supplements is important if your meals do not contain the required amount of calcium your body needs. Before adopting a calcium supplement, be sure that you know the required amount of calcium, your body needs to prevent excess intake of calcium, which is risky to the health.
Supplements are extra sources of nutrients. Most of the time, they come in capsule form and are fully packed with various nutrients. Just as the name implies, supplements are mostly used to complement as well as supplement nutrients that we get from foods. They also provide additional nutrients in large concentrated quantities. In other words, supplements should not be taken alone; they are complements of food and should be taken when you are on a proper and healthy diet. Also, knowing the required amount of nutrients your body needs would help you measure the number of supplements you need to prevent excess intake of such supplements.
In addition, supplements are the best sources of nutrients for people who are allergic to foods that provide such nutrients. For example, people who are allergic to foods that provide calcium can incorporate calcium supplements into their diets without being left out of the numerous benefits of calcium.
Types of Calcium Supplements
The two major types of calcium supplements are;
These calcium supplements are combined with vitamin D or magnesium to aid the digestion of calcium into the blood. Calcium supplements should be bought with caution, and the label should be read carefully to know the amount of calcium each brand provides.
The health risks associated with calcium deficiency include;
- Chronic diarrhea
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Renal failure
- Especially in children, growth and development become a problem. They might not attain the normal adult height and may develop low bone mass in the future, all of which would be exposing them to osteoporosis later in life.
These conditions require shots of calcium into the blood, and in milder cases, calcium replacement therapies like diets, drugs, and supplements are administered.
Risk of Excess Calcium In The Body
Quite a number of factors can increase the amount of calcium in the body. Overuse of calcium supplements, drugs, and foods can increase the amount of calcium in the body. Excess calcium may cause kidney stones, prostate cancer, constipation, affected absorption of zinc and iron into the blood as well as calcium buildup in the blood.
Why Should You Take Calcium Supplements?
- If you are presently on a vegan diet, you will likely lose more calcium because most food non-vegan foods contain calcium.
- If you have lactose intolerance and also avoid dairy products
- If you eat sodium or protein in very large amounts
- If you are suffering from osteoporosis
- If you have undergone a long-term treatment with corticosteroids
- If you are suffering from digestive diseases that reduce your body’s ability to absorb calcium
- All these groups of people can lose calcium if their only source of calcium is from meals. In situations like this, calcium supplements are administered to help their body get the required amount of calcium.
Benefits of Calcium Supplement
- For women at their postmenopausal stage of life, calcium supplements are strongly Calcium supplements can help prevent bone loss during old age. Especially in advised and important because it helps them prevent the loss of bone mass as a result of a decline in their estrogen level. Research has shown that bone loss in women who take calcium supplements has been reduced by 1-2%.
- Studies state that calcium intake reduces the risk of colon cancer to the barest minimum.
- It helps the bones, muscles, joints, heart, and brain function properly.
- Calcium also protects against diabetes and high blood pressure.
- Calcium may also help in fat loss. Research proved this by giving 600mg of calcium supplements to overweight and obese people who have a low calcium level. This action helped those people lose body fat.
- When calcium is merged with vitamin D, it helps improve metabolic markers and easy absorption of calcium into the blood. Studies show that children of women who took calcium supplements during pregnancy have lower blood pressure at age 8 than children of women who did not.
Side Effects of Calcium Supplements
Research has uncovered some health risks attached to the excessive and prolonged usage of calcium supplements.
- Excess calcium supplement intake may increase the risk of heart diseases like heart attack and stroke.
- Prolonged usage and excessive usage of calcium supplements may lead to higher risks of prostate cancer.
- Too much calcium supplement can increase your risk of developing kidney stones. Medical practitioners claim that when calcium intake exceeds 1300 – 1600mg per day, your risk of developing kidney stones becomes very high.
- An alarming level of calcium in the blood can lead to hypercalcemia, which is characterized by stomach pain, nausea, irritability, depression, dehydration, and thyroid conditions.
- Excess vitamin D intake can also have this same effect in the body as it encourages the absorption of more calcium into the blood.
- Excess calcium supplements can also lead to difficulty in breathing.
- Weird allergies have been associated with excess calcium supplement intake.
The amount of calcium you should take depends on your sex and age. The following is a breakdown of the daily amount of calcium in the body.
19 – 50 years 1,000mg
51 – 70 years 1,000mg
71 and older 1,200mg
19 – 50 years 1,000mg
51-70 years 1,000mg
71 and older 1,200mg
The daily limit for adults of ages 19 – 50 is 2,500mg for both men and women. For older adults aged 51 and older, the limit is 2,000mg per day for both men and women.
When Shopping for Calcium Supplements
- Choose a brand name that has proven reliability. Make sure you do your research and ensure that the calcium supplement brand you are going for meets the standard of quality and purity of the food and drug law enforcement agency.
- Read the label meticulously to know and understand the amount of calcium content in each tablet to avoid overdose or underdose. Pay rapt attention to the serving size and amount per serving.
Other Things to Note About Calcium Supplements
- Taking doses above 600mg is equivalent to not taking it at all. Calcium gets absorbed in smaller does. This means the required 1,000 to 1,200mg daily dose of calcium should be taken bits by bits for successful absorption.
- Ensure that you take calcium supplements with food, but do your calculations well to prevent excess intake from both the supplement and the foods, especially in foods with a very high calcium content.
- Do not rush into taking 1,000 to 1,200mg of calcium if you are a beginner. Try starting with 200mg to 400mg daily for one week, then add more as time goes on. It is also paramount to drink enough water while taking calcium supplements as a starter.
- You might experience side effects of calcium supplements; if such occurs, try another calcium supplement brand as trial and error are required to get the right brand for you. Or better still, you can speak to a medical professional for advice.
- Visit your healthcare provider often to discuss the interaction between calcium supplements and other drugs.
Calcium supplement is the best run-to remedy for the replacement of calcium in the body. It may help people reduce the risk of developing bone, joint, and tissue problems like osteoporosis, arthritis, and many more. It also helps vegans and other people who do not get enough calcium from diets. So many health benefits have been attached to calcium supplements. However, the side effects of calcium supplements have also been identified. These side effects occur when a calcium supplement is overused or used over a long time. These side effects include heart diseases and kidney stones.
Although the best way to get calcium is in foods; however, many people who are probably allergic to foods containing calcium would suffer from calcium deficiency if calcium supplements do not exist. The best way to start a calcium supplement is by taking small doses like 200-300mg daily for one week. The appropriate dose is between 1,000 to 1,200mg daily, depending on factors like age and sex. The limit for calcium intake per day is between 2,000 and 2,500mg, depending on factors like age and sex. Exceeding this limit could spell harm.