There are some minerals the body can’t seem to get enough of.
Calcium is one of those important vitamins and is essential for the growth and maintenance of bones and teeth.
With 99 percent of the body’s calcium found in the bones and teeth, finding the right supplement is important for both your health and your pocketbook.
According to the University of Arizona, calcium also plays an important role in muscle contraction, nerve conduction, and blood clotting.
The remaining one percent of calcium is found in the blood.
If the calcium levels drop in the blood, calcium will be pulled from the bones to balance the levels.
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How Much Calcium Does a Person Need?
WebMD advises that adequate calcium intake should first start with a healthy diet, rich in calcium. Regular exercise from childhood on is also important in maintaining and building healthy bones.
According to the Institute of Medicine, the following amount of calcium should be taken for each of the following age groups:
- Children 1-3 years of age: 700 milligrams of calcium a day
- Children 4-8 years of age: 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day
- Teenagers 9-18 years of age: 1,300 milligrams of calcium a day
- Adults 19-50 years of age (includes men up until age 71): 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day
- Women over the age of 51 and men over the age of 71: 1,200 milligrams of calcium a day
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Can I Get the Calcium I Need From My Diet?
Calcium supplements are great to use just in case you can’t get enough calcium in your diet, but they shouldn’t be relied on to get all of your calcium needs. According to eMedicineHealth, dairy is your best source of calcium.
There are several other foods rich in calcium as well. One cup of milk has up to 302 milligrams of calcium, while one cup of yogurt has up to 415 milligrams of calcium.
One ounce of cheddar cheese has 191 milligrams of calcium, and one cup of soy milk or rice milk has up to 300 milligrams of calcium. One cup of cooked beans has up to 90 milligrams of calcium, and one cup of tofu has up to 204 milligrams of calcium.
Some surprising sources of calcium are salmon, of which a four-ounce serving has up to 300 milligrams of calcium; one tablespoon of sesame seeds which has 88 milligrams of calcium; half a cup of dried figs which has 144 milligrams of calcium; and half a cup of rhubarb which has up to 174 milligrams of calcium.
Dark green vegetables also have fairly good calcium content. A half a cup of broccoli has approximately 89 milligrams of calcium, half a cup of cooked kale has up to 90 milligrams of calcium, and half a cup of cooked spinach has around 61 milligrams of calcium.
Enriched cereals and bread products may also have calcium. One cup of whole-grain cereal has around 200 to 300 milligrams of calcium. One whole-wheat English muffin has around 175 milligrams of calcium.
What Type of Calcium Supplement Is the Best to Use?
What we consume in calcium from foods and supplements is considered a compound form of calcium. This means that the substance contains more than one ingredient.
One of the best compound forms of calcium is found in carbonate and citrate. The calcium in these compound forms is called elemental calcium.
If you are taking a supplement of calcium, during digestion the compound dissolves and the elemental calcium is available for the body to absorb. It’s not as much calcium as the compound originally started with though.
For example, if a tablet contains 500 milligrams of the compound calcium carbonate, there are only about 200 milligrams of elemental calcium that’s available for the body to take up. When looking at a compound calcium supplement it’s important to look at the elemental calcium.
Usually, that will be only 40% of the calcium compound and that’s the amount your body will actually take up. Most supplements list the amount of elemental calcium making it easier to know how much calcium you’ll get when consuming the brand.
There are several supplements available that contain either calcium carbonate or calcium citrate. Look for those types of compounds and also make sure the elemental calcium is a safe amount for your body’s individual needs.
As stated before, exercise is important alongside calcium supplementation. One of the biggest concerns with calcium depletion in a person’s body is the strength of their bones. Exercise can help keep bones strong alongside supplementation.
No matter your supplement needs, a regular exercise routine is an important part of living a happy and healthy lifestyle. Sign up for an Exercise.com PRO plan today for access to workouts that you can do anywhere.