Scientific studies show that Americans are deficient in Calcium, an important bone building mineral. What are the effects of calcium deficiency? Are you at risk?
You’ve probably heard that calcium is important for your bone and in treating/preventing osteoporosis. Majority of women don’t take in enough calcium to improve bone health. Infact, studies show that American girls don’t get enough calcium after the age of 11.
Calcium deficiency leads to chronic muscle spasms. At the same time, an excess of calcium may lead to the formation of stones (calculi) in the kidney or gall bladder.
Older men and women need about 1,500 milligrams of calcium a day. To give you an idea of how much calcium that is, a glass of milk contains only about 300 milligrams of calcium. That means that you would need to drink about 5 classes of milk a day to meet your increase your daily calcium intake.
Milk, cheese, yogurt and other dairy products are the best sources of calcium. A pint of milk a day, eaten with cereals or taken as a drink, should easily provide the required amount of calcium for healthy bones. Great sources of calcium include skim milk and yogurt, but did you know that foods such as collard greens, kale, spinach, broccoli, almonds and peas are excellent sources of calcium too.
Calcium-fortified foods and drinks such as soy beverages or orange juice contain calcium, but it does not provide other nutrients found in milk and milk products.
Vitamin C can improve calcium absorption. At the same time, protein and fats does the opposite. Health professionals need to inform patients that there are numerous healthy dietary sources of calcium and vitamin D.
Calcium carbonate is absorbed best when taken with food. Calcium citrate can be taken anytime. To help prevent constipation, don’t take more calcium than necessary, increase intake of fruit juices and water, try getting calcium from food sources instead of tablets, take calcium with magnesium, or try calcium citrate or calcium chews. For a few people side effects can occur with caldium supplements such as gas or constipation. Take the recommended dosage; excessive amounts of calcium in the blood may cause nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, increased urination, kidney toxicity, confusion, and irregular heart rhythm.
Several forms of calcium supplements are commercially available today and health professionals need to understand the similarities and differences between them. If you take a calcium supplement, remember to then with or after a meal since it needs stomach acid for absorption.