Calcium is essential for overall health. Almost all cells of the body require calcium for optimal functioning. Some of the areas where the body uses calcium include:
Studies on the effect of calcium on health have shown:
- Bone health and osteoporosis: Bones need an enormous amount of calcium and vitamin D during childhood and adolescence to reach their peak strength and calcium content by about the age of 30 years. After 30 years, bones start to lose calcium. However, it can be reduced by getting recommended amounts of calcium throughout adulthood. Osteoporosis is a condition where the bone becomes porous and fragile. Taking calcium and vitamin D supplements may prevent osteoporosis and preserve bone health.
- High blood pressure: Some studies have shown that taking daily required calcium can reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure. Especially, eating a fat-free diet that includes low-fat dairy products, vegetables, and fruits has been shown to lower blood pressure.
- Preeclampsia: Pregnant women who take less than 900 mg of calcium a day can increase preeclampsia risk. It is a condition where the woman suffers from high blood pressure and kidney problems that lead to protein release in the urine. It can also lead to stillbirth or death of the mother or their unborn babies. Ensure to get 1000 mg of calcium from the diet or through supplements.
What are the health risks of not taking sufficient calcium?
Not taking sufficient calcium will not produce any symptoms in the short term because the body maintains the calcium level in the blood by taking it from the bone. Over the long period, calcium deficiency can have consequences, such as:
Severe calcium deficiency can attribute to the following signs and symptoms:
Who is at higher risk of developing low calcium level?
Certain populations are at greater risk for low calcium levels, including:
- Postmenopausal women
- Lactose intolerant and dairy-avoiding people
- Anorexic people or those with other eating disorders
- People who take certain medicines for osteoporosis (bisphosphonates)
- People who have parathyroid disorders, inflammatory bowel disease, or liver or kidney disease.
- People who consume a large amount of protein or sodium, which can cause the body to excrete more calcium
- People receiving long-term corticosteroid treatment
What are the different types of calcium supplements?
There are several types of calcium compounds used in calcium supplements. Each compound comprises a variable amount of the mineral calcium known as elemental calcium. Some of the most common calcium supplements include:
- Calcium carbonate (40% elemental calcium)
- Calcium citrate (21% elemental calcium)
- Calcium lactate (13% elemental calcium)
- Calcium gluconate (9% elemental calcium)
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Family Doctor. Calcium: What You Need to Know. American Academy of Family Physicians. https://familydoctor.org/calcium-what-you-need-to-know/
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