Calcium is crucial for robust bones—that’s a reality. However does this imply you want excessive doses of calcium dietary supplements? Will your bones crumble if you happen to don’t? Right here’s what science has to say.
- How a lot calcium do you want?
- Calcium and Bone Well being
- Calcium and Coronary heart Illness
- Calcium and Most cancers
- Calcium and Kidney Stones
- The way to Get Sufficient Calcium
- Why Calcium Ranges Can Be Too Low or Too Excessive
- Calcium Info
How a lot calcium do you want?
After the FDA licensed a well being declare in 1993—that calcium in meals and dietary supplements might cut back the chance for osteoporosis—calcium turned a extensively marketed merchandise. However authorities dietary surveys present that the majority Individuals nonetheless devour lower than the advisable quantity from meals and dietary supplements: 1,000 mg every day for adults, and 1,200 mg every day for ladies after age 50 and for males after age 70.
About three out of 4 girls over the age of 60, and almost as many teenage women, fall brief, as do about half of boys and males in the identical age teams. And there are barely smaller however important shortfalls amongst all the opposite age teams.
Extra vital: Are you poor? The reply isn’t so simple as saying, “take so many milligrams a day and also you’ll be okay.” Simply as a shortfall is dangerous in your well being, so is taking an excessive amount of. Extra ranges of calcium can improve danger for coronary heart illness, kidney stones, and probably colon most cancers. The quantity of calcium in your meals, some well being situations, and a few drugs can all affect your calcium ranges.
Relating to taking calcium dietary supplements, particular person wants actually do differ. In actual fact, scientists who analyzed a long time of calcium analysis concluded that “the right dosages of calcium supplementation for persons are really not clear.”
Calcium and Bone Well being
Within the human physique, 99 p.c of calcium is present in bones and tooth. The remaining 1 p.c is within the blood, the place it’s important for a lot of features, together with the contraction and leisure of blood vessels, muscle perform, transmission of alerts by nerves, and hormone secretion. If there isn’t sufficient calcium within the blood, further calcium might be launched from bones.
On the similar time, bone frequently turns over, breaking down and rebuilding. In later life, particularly in girls after menopause, the breakdown is bigger than the formation of recent bone, and this results in bone loss, fragile bones, and better danger of fractures.
Satisfactory calcium from meals and dietary supplements helps to protect bone in older folks, however there may be conflicting proof about whether or not calcium dietary supplements alone can stop fractures. One profitable technique for preserving bone and decreasing fracture danger is taking vitamin D with calcium. Getting common train, equivalent to strolling or working and doing resistance workouts, can also be vital for bone well being.
Calcium and Coronary heart Illness
In research, the hyperlink between calcium and coronary heart illness isn’t clear. In some research of older girls, calcium appeared to decrease danger for coronary heart illness, however in others, supplementing with 1,000 mg per day or extra elevated danger. Males taking greater than 1,000 mg of calcium in dietary supplements additionally had larger danger for coronary heart illness. Nevertheless, lower-dose supplementation didn’t contribute to coronary heart illness.
In research of calcium and blood stress, the outcomes are additionally inconsistent. In some instances, larger calcium consumption diminished blood stress however in others, it had no impact. Dairy merchandise have been discovered to decrease blood stress, nevertheless it isn’t clear if their helpful impact got here from calcium.
Whereas the calcium-heart relationship isn’t clear, the American Society for Preventive Cardiology and the Nationwide Osteoporosis Basis have concluded that calcium is protected so long as your every day whole from meals and dietary supplements doesn’t exceed 2,500 mg for adults as much as age 50, and a couple of,000 mg after that.
Calcium and Most cancers
Some research have linked calcium with decrease incidence of colon most cancers, particularly a every day quantity of 700–800 mg from meals and/or dietary supplements. Nevertheless, in a single examine of girls who took 1,200 mg of calcium every day for not less than three years, with or with out 1,000 IU every day of vitamin D, there was an elevated danger of polyps which can be precursors of colon most cancers.
In research of males, an elevated danger for prostate most cancers was seen amongst these taking 1,300 mg of calcium every day or extra. However there was no hyperlink between prostate most cancers and decrease every day intakes of calcium (between 500 and 1,000 mg from meals and dietary supplements).
Calcium and Kidney Stones
Analysis on the hyperlink between calcium and kidney stones has additionally produced conflicting outcomes. One examine of postmenopausal girls discovered that taking 1,000 mg of calcium and 400 IU of vitamin D each day for seven years elevated danger for kidney stones by 17 p.c. However one other examine discovered fewer kidney stones amongst girls who took supplemental calcium or ate extra calcium-rich meals. Lack of fluids and consuming lots of meals excessive in oxalates—equivalent to spinach, bran flakes, rhubarb, beets, potato chips, French fries, nuts, and nut butters—may improve danger for kidney stones.
The way to Get Sufficient Calcium
Relating to making certain that you simply’re getting sufficient calcium, step one is to extend your consumption of meals which can be naturally wealthy within the mineral. Milk and different dairy merchandise can present 200–300 mg in a serving. An 8-ounce serving of collard greens, broccoli rabe, or kale, or a 3-ounce serving of canned sardines with bones, can ship the same quantity.
Fortified meals, together with many cereals, plant milks, and juices, include added calcium. Consuming these is basically like taking calcium dietary supplements with meals. These are legitimate sources, as are conventional calcium dietary supplements in pills.
To find out your individual want for calcium dietary supplements, verify the calcium content material of the meals you sometimes eat and add up your normal every day whole. When you take antacids that include calcium, a multivitamin, or different dietary supplements, calculate your common calcium consumption from these and add it to your meals sources to get a every day whole. If it’s lower than the every day advisable 1,000 mg (or 1,200 for ladies over 50 and males over 70), fortified meals or calcium dietary supplements could make up the distinction.
Why Calcium Ranges Can Be Too Low or Too Excessive
Whereas it’s important to get enough dietary calcium, different components, equivalent to drugs or parathyroid problems, can elevate or decrease calcium within the blood to unhealthy ranges.
To not be confused with the thyroid, there are 4 parathyroid glands within the neck, every the dimensions of a grain of rice. They regulate ranges of calcium within the blood by secreting parathyroid hormone to lift calcium ranges and stopping launch of the hormone to decrease ranges.
When you routinely take any drugs, ask your pharmacist in the event that they affect the best way your physique makes use of, shops, or excretes calcium. And discover out if calcium dietary supplements are advisable.
These are some widespread causes for unhealthy ranges of calcium:
Calcium ranges may be too low due to:
- Low ranges of albumin, a protein within the blood
- Underactive parathyroid glands (hypoparathyroidism)
- Low ranges of vitamin D or magnesium
- Excessive ranges of phosphorus
- An infected pancreas
Calcium ranges may be too excessive due to:
- Overactive parathyroid glands (hyperparathyroidism)
- Most cancers
- An overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism)
- An excessive amount of vitamin D
- Being immobilized for a very long time
Ranges of blood calcium may be examined throughout a medical check-up. Along with figuring out your private calcium wants, a take a look at might assist to detect hidden medical situations.