Benefits of Calcium

calciumCalcium is an important element in your health.  It helps to keep bones healthy and teeth strong.  It aids in the function of  your muscles, heart and nerves.  It aids blood vessels to keep blood flowing properly within our bodies.

A lack of calcium may contribute to osteoporosis  or low bone mass in adults. Children who are low in calcium may not grow to their full height as an adult.  Some studies have indicated that having enough calcium may protect from heart disease and stroke, however, too much  can be harmful.

Calcium is available in a number of foods.  Dairy products such as cheese, yogurt and cheese provide calcium.  Vegetables such as broccoli and kale and fish with soft bones are sources of calcium.  Small amounts of calcium are provided by grains and manufacturers add calcium to breakfast cereals and juices and many other items.  Be sure to read the product labels to see if the product contains calcium.

Many people do not get enough calcium from their diet, particularly post menopausal women who do not absorb calcium well and are prone to bone loss.

There are two types of calcium.  Calcium carbonate is absorbed best when taken with food.

Calcium carbonate is the more expensive of the two forms of calcium and may be taken either with or without food.

Calcium is found as a part of multi-vitamins but the amount provided will vary by manufacturer so be sure to check the label.  Calcium supplements are also available and some of these are in combination with vitamin D which helps the body to absorb the calcium better.  Calcium is absorbed better when no more than 500 mg is taken at one time.  If you are taking more each day then take your supplements at two different times.  Calcium supplements may increase the risk for kidney stones, but there does not appear to be any evidence that calcium from food has this effect.  Safe upper levels for calcium are 1,000 mg  up to 6 months, 1,500 mg from 7 months to 1 year, 2,500 mg for ages 1 to 8 years, 3,000 mg ages 8 to 18 years and adults  between 2,000 to 2,500 mg with older adults needing the lower amount.

As with any supplement discuss whether or not you should be taking calcium with your health professional.