Risks and Benefits of Calcium Supplements
I often get asked about calcium supplements, hence today’s post. As I’ve said before, if you eat a healthy, well-balanced diet supplementation will not be needed. However, calcium is a vital nutrient, and when we are calcium deficient, high-quality calcium supplements may be the only way out.
Health supplements are available from various sources. With the increased efforts to increase wellness, all kinds of supplements have sprouted out. If taken correctly, it can play a significant role in all kinds of bodily functions. This article will talk about the benefits of calcium supplements, their possible side effects and how to properly take them for maximum health benefit.
The Role of Calcium
Calcium is one of the most critical minerals in the human body. It plays numerous roles in normal human physiology. 99 percent of the calcium in the body is stored in bones and teeth where it plays a vital structural role. Lack of calcium in the diet is linked to weak bones and teeth.
The other one percent of calcium is found in the bloodstream, where it plays several roles, such as releasing hormones, facilitating nerve signals, and regulating muscle contraction and relaxation.
It is estimated that women under 50 and men under 70 needs 1000mg of calcium a day. Women over 50 and men over 70 have higher calcium demands, with recommended daily intake increasing to 1200mg.
Foods rich in calcium
If you eat plenty of foods rich in calcium, there will be no need to supplement with extra calcium tablets or capsules. These foods include:
- Raw milk, cheese, yogurt, and kefir
- Cooked kale
- Bok choy
- Sardines with bones
- White beans and black-eyed peas
- Mung and aduki beans
Advantages of Calcium Supplements
Diet should you be your primary calcium source. However, if you are experiencing issues due to low levels of calcium, the benefits of calcium supplements will help your body to function properly, provided you take them correctly. It helps prevent excessive loss of bone mass during the aging process. According to studies, calcium supplementation is beneficial in preventing bone loss in postmenopausal women.
Adequate calcium intake is also linked to weight loss, as studies show the association between adequate calcium supplementation and weight control, especially when taken with Vitamin D. It can even help reduce blood pressure, inflammation markers, and the risk of colon cancer.
Disadvantages of Calcium Supplements
Of course, there are some issues linked to the wrong use of calcium supplements. There are toxicities associated with overdose, and some of them are even potentially fatal. Hypercalcemia, a condition wherein blood calcium levels are too high, causes symptoms, such as stomach pains, nausea, and depression. When severe, it can deposit in tissues and even lead to fatal events.
Excess calcium increases a person’s risk for cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack and stroke. Increased calcium levels is also linked to the formation of kidney stones. It is even linked to the development of prostate cancer, though scientific evidence regarding this is still lacking.
Who Will Benefit Best from Calcium Supplements?
Who are the people who stand to benefit most from calcium supplementation? The first ones are those who consume little calcium in their diet. Vegetarians and those who don’t consume dairy can also gain numerous benefits from supplementing with calcium. The elderly can also gain several benefits, as it reduces the risk of developing osteoporosis.
It is also highly recommended for women who are in their menopausal stage. Note that despite its potential risks, the benefits of calcium supplements still outweigh them. Like with most supplements, it is possible for anyone to mitigate the risks by ensuring that they take it responsibly and correctly.
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