Best Calcium Supplements

Best Calcium Supplements.

Calcium is a valuable nutrient for the growth and development of bone tissue and muscle tissue. Some people manage to get enough of it through their diet alone, but for others, calcium supplements are the only way to ensure that they get as much of it as they need. Calcium supplements are not all the same, so it’s crucial to understand what the different types of supplements are and how they work to find the best option for you.

How does it work in the body?

We all have heard that we need calcium to have strong bones, which is true; most of the calcium stored in our bodies is in our bones and our teeth, and it keeps these structures strong. However, calcium is also needed for muscle contraction, blood vessel function, release of hormones and enzymes, and nerve activity. Without calcium, many of the most important functions that take place in our bodies wouldn’t work!

Conditions Treated with Calcium Supplements

Calcium is best used to prevent conditions before they start, but it can also treat these same conditions once they have already appeared. For example, calcium supplements are part of the standard treatment course for osteoporosis and osteopenia, which both involve weak, low-density, easily injured bones.

High blood levels of certain minerals, like magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus, can also be treated with calcium supplements.

Calcium also may be useful in treating PMS symptoms, hypertension, and obesity, but further research on treatment for these things is needed to confirm how useful it is.

And, of course, a calcium deficiency can be treated with calcium supplements, regardless of the severity of the deficiency at the time of treatment. The people at the highest risk for under-consuming calcium are vegans/vegetarians and women over the age of 50.

Conditions Prevented with Calcium Supplements

Bone problems that can be treated with calcium supplements, like osteoporosis and osteopenia, can also be prevented if supplements are taken before these problems arise. Getting sufficient calcium is one of the best ways to prevent issues with bone health, especially issues that commonly occur later in life.

Issues like high blood levels of some minerals (like the ones mentioned earlier) and high blood pressure can also be prevented with an adequate intake of calcium. This is no surprise, considering calcium’s role in the healthy function of the cardiovascular system.

There is even evidence that calcium can (sometimes in conjunction with other supplements) reduce the risk of certain cancers. For example, a combination of calcium and vitamin D supplements seems to reduce the risk of breast cancer in younger women. Calcium is also being researched as a possible preventative for colon cancer.

Different Types

There are two main forms of calcium that are found in supplements:

  • Calcium carbonate - Calcium carbonate supplements are 40% calcium per unit, which is higher than the other major type of calcium supplement, so you get the same amount of calcium from a smaller amount of the supplement. They are dissolved and absorbed in the stomach, so they are best taken with food.
  • Calcium citrate - Calcium citrate is only 20% calcium per unit, meaning you may need to take more if you use this type of supplement. They are easily broken down and absorbed on an empty stomach and do not need to be taken with food.
  • Forms to avoid - Calcium does occur in other forms, like calcium lactate, calcium phosphate, and calcium gluconate, but these are much less effective as supplements, because they contain a much lower percentage of calcium. In general, you should not take supplements that rely mainly or entirely on these forms of calcium.

If you think you know which major form of calcium appeals to you the most and would be best for your digestive system, take a look at our list of the ten best calcium supplements and see which of them are the type you want to try.

Food Sources of Calcium

We often think of calcium as coming only from dairy products, but the truth is that calcium is found in many different types of food!

  • Green vegetables - Vegetables like kale, broccoli, and chinese cabbage are high in calcium.
  • Grains - Grains, especially whole grains, can be great food sources of calcium. While they don’t have high amounts of calcium, most grain products have some calcium and are consumed in large quantities, so you get a decent amount of calcium from any meal that includes grains. Many grain products are also fortified with nutrients like calcium.
  • Dairy - And, of course, there is lots of calcium in dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt.

Benefits

The best-known health benefit of calcium is the promotion of bone health and the reduced risk of bone issues and diseases. It helps to correct nutrient imbalances and correct high levels of certain minerals in the blood.

In addition to this, calcium also may decrease the risk of some types of cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Some research indicates that an adequate intake of calcium reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

In pregnant women, calcium promotes the healthy development of bone and muscle tissue in the baby. Calcium is necessary for the baby to develop a normal heartbeat, neural function, and blood clotting abilities. It also reduces the risk of preeclampsia, a potentially fatal condition that can develop in pregnant women, in women with a calcium deficiency.

Side Effects of Calcium

Calcium normally causes side effects only when consumed in abnormally high quantities. High consumption of calcium may increase the risk of kidney stones, especially for older men and women.

Some people also find that high doses of calcium can cause constipation. It is theorized that calcium consumption above the recommended amount can interfere with the body’s ability to absorb other minerals, like zinc and iron, but this phenomenon is not well understood yet.

While appropriate doses of calcium can reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer, unusually high doses may increase the risk of these things. This link, too, needs to be researched further to be fully understood. If you take a calcium supplement and experience any side effects, discuss them with your doctor. They will be able to determine whether a different form of calcium or another form of treatment altogether would be appropriate.

Precautions and Warnings

To avoid the risk of side effects and complications, calcium should not be taken in doses exceeding the recommended daily upper limit. This is 2500mg for adults 19-50 years of age, and 2000mg for adults over 50.

Individuals with bone tumors, heart problems, or kidney disease should not take calcium supplements unless specifically directed by a physician. Those taking certain medications should also exercise caution and consider potential drug interactions before taking calcium.

High levels of calcium can increase the risk of some health conditions over time, as mentioned above. An acute overdose of calcium, resulting in very high levels of calcium in the blood, can cause nausea, confusion, acute pain, irregular heartbeat, and even death.

Always take supplements at an appropriate dosage, as directed by a physician. Calcium supplements made from coral, oyster shells, dolomite, and bone meal should be avoided, as they can contain dangerous materials like lead and heavy metals.

How long do I take calcium supplements?

We need a certain amount of calcium throughout our lifetimes. The daily calcium requirement is 1000mg of calcium from ages 19-50 for women and 19-70 for men, and 1200mg of calcium for women over 50 and men over 70. This may mean that you want to take a calcium supplement long-term or for the rest of your life, or it may depend on changes in your diet.

Older adults struggling with calcium deficiency or osteoporosis may need to take calcium supplements indefinitely, to prevent progression of these bone problems. On the other hand, a young adult who is struggling to consume enough calcium after going vegetarian or vegan may only need a supplement until they learn what plant-based foods give them as much calcium as they need.

Drug Interactions

You should always check with your doctor when starting a new supplement, especially if you currently take any other medications. Calcium can interact with or prevent the effectiveness of drugs that treat diabetes, heart disease, and epilepsy, among other prescription medications.

Calcium can also interfere with the body’s absorption of other minerals, and vice versa. For this reason, it’s often best to take calcium and other supplements at staggered times, several hours apart, to prevent any potential interactions. Make sure that your doctor is aware of your current medications or supplements when discussing a calcium supplement with them, so that they can advise you on safety regarding potential drug interactions.

Calcium is an important mineral for the human body at all stages of life, from development before birth to old age. It helps to keep bones, teeth, muscles, nerves, and other tissues healthy. Calcium supplements are generally safe, except severe side effects that may be caused by an overdose of calcium and interactions with a few prescription medications. Discuss the safety of a calcium supplement with your doctor to find the best treatment for you, and then use our list of the best products to find a high-quality option.

Tags: best supplements to take, do garlic supplements work, potassium supplement, best vitamin c supplement for skin, best turmeric supplements for inflammation, iron intake for women, red yeast rice side effects, does vitamin d supplements work, best rated multivitamin for women, type 2 collagen supplements