There is no single type of calcium supplement that can be recommended as being the best.
It is more important to choose a calcium supplement that contains the correct dose of elemental calcium that will meet your requirements.
Calcium is an essential chemical element that is found in your body.
The most plentiful mineral found in your body, almost 99% of calcium is stored in your bones and teeth.
The remaining 1% of calcium is found in your blood.
Calcium is essential for bone and teeth health, nerve conduction, muscle contraction, and blood clotting.
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Why Do You Need Calcium Supplements?
The calcium in your blood is critical for the healthy functioning of your body. If you don’t get enough calcium from your diet and your calcium level in the blood drops below normal, calcium will be taken from your bones.
Over a prolonged period of time, calcium deficiency can cause brittle bones, affect muscle contraction, and reduce bone mass. Chronic calcium deficiency can cause osteoporosis, which means that your bones actually become porous, with tiny little holes in them like a sponge.
A crippling disease, the symptoms of osteoporosis include decreases in bone mineral density and bone calcium content, and the increased occurrence of fractures. Therefore, it is inherently important for your body to get an adequate amount of calcium to maintain bone and blood calcium levels.
How Much Calcium Do You Need?
According to the Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Sciences, daily calcium intake varies based on age, sex and other circumstances such as menopause and pregnancy.
The different recommended dietary allowances (RDA) are as follows:
- Infants 0 – 6 months: 200 mgs
- Infants 6 – 12 months: 260 mgs
- Children 1 – 3 years old: 700 mgs
- Children 4 – 8 years old: 1000 mgs
- Adolescents between 9 and 18 years: 1300 mgs
- Adult Males and Females between 19 and 50 years: 1000 mgs
- Adult Males between 51 and 70 years: 1000 mgs
- Adult Females between 51 and 70 years: 1200 mgs
- Adults above 70 years: 1200 mgs
- Pregnancy and Lactation
- Females between 14 and 18 years: 1300 mgs
- Females between 19 and 50 years: 1000 mgs
It is also very important to remember that proper absorption of calcium requires adequate vitamin D. You can get vitamin D from vitamin D fortified milk and milk products, from sunlight and from some foods like fish and egg yolks.
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What Are the Different Sources of Calcium?
Like any other nutrient, the best source of calcium should be your food. According to WebMD, a good source should contain at least 100 milligrams of calcium per standard serving.
Some of the best sources of calcium include milk, yogurt, cheese, and calcium-fortified foods such as orange juice. Good sources include canned salmon, almonds, and dark green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, kale, and bok choy.
You might find it difficult to reach the required amount of dietary calcium to ensure the proper function of your body. If you cannot change your eating habits or are lactose intolerant, a healthy option might be calcium supplements.
What Should You Look for in a Calcium Supplement?
Calcium exists in foods and supplements as a compound, which is a combination of different substances. Some of the different calcium compounds used in supplements are calcium carbonate, calcium citrate, and calcium phosphate.
The National Institutes of Health suggests a careful consideration of the following aspects while choosing calcium supplement:
Avoid any supplements made from unrefined oyster shell, bone meal or dolomite because they may contain high levels of lead or other toxic metals.
Chewable, powdered and liquid calcium supplements are more easily absorbed since they are broken down before they enter the stomach. Calcium carbonate is absorbed most efficiently when taken with food. Calcium citrate can be taken at any time.
You might experience some side effects such as gas or constipation. But these are easily resolved by adjusting the dosage. Avoid taking more than the recommended amount of calcium without medical approval.
If you have any questions about possible interaction, allergic reactions or side effects, be sure to discuss your supplement regimen with your doctor or pharmacist. But always remember that consuming the RDA for calcium is imperative for good health.
And remember to keep in mind that supplementation of any kind is not enough for your overall health and fitness needs. Exercise is important. Go PRO today for access to certified personal trainers, workout plans, goal trackers, and more!