What is Calcium?
Calcium is a mineral that plays an essential role in maintaining healthy bones and teeth. It helps maintain strong bones and teeth, regulates blood pressure, and plays a role in muscle contraction. Calcium is necessary for normal growth. A lack of calcium in your body may lead to osteoporosis and other bone diseases.
The recommended daily intake (RDI) for calcium is 2,000 milligrams per day. Most of the calcium in your body is stored in your bones and teeth, but it is also found in your blood, muscle, and other organs.
The body cannot produce or store calcium, so you need to consume enough in your diet. The best sources of calcium are dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt.
What is Calcium Used for?
Calcium is essential for healthy bones and teeth.
Calcium helps to keep your bones and teeth strong and decreases the risk of osteoporosis (weakening of the bones) in later life.
Calcium also helps to:
regulate muscle contraction
control the release of certain hormones
keep the heart rhythm steady
What are the Different Forms of Calcium?
There are many different forms of calcium available, such as:
What are the Side Effects of Calcium?
The most common side effect of calcium supplements is stomach upset. These effects can be lessened by taking the supplement with food.
Taking too much calcium can lead to constipation, nausea, vomiting, and cramping.
High doses of calcium supplements can interfere with the absorption of iron, magnesium, copper, and zinc.
How and Where to Take Calcium?
Your doctor will determine the appropriate dose for you based on your medical condition and other factors.
Calcium is available as chewable tablets, capsules, syrups, and solutions for injections.
The best way to take calcium supplements is with food to limit stomach upset.
Most patients find that calcium supplements work better when taken with food. Taking them with meals also reduces the risk for constipation.
How Long Does it Take for Calcium to Work?
The amount of time that it takes for calcium supplements to take effect depends on the condition being treated.
For bone and teeth health, most doctors recommend calcium supplements for a lifetime.
What is the Recommended Daily Allowance for Calcium?
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for calcium is 1000-1200 milligrams (mg) per day for adults.
The National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) recommends 1000 milligrams of elemental calcium per day for people aged 50 and younger, and 1200 milligrams of elemental calcium per day for those aged 51 and older.
What is the Maximum Safe Dosage of Calcium?
The maximum safe dosage of calcium has not been established. However, too much calcium can cause constipation and other digestive problems.
What if I Take too Much Calcium?
Taking too much calcium won’t cause any immediate harm. However, it can interfere with the absorption of other minerals like magnesium and iron.
If you experience stomach pain, vomiting, or diarrhea after taking calcium supplements, contact your doctor immediately.
Because of the risk for constipation with calcium supplements, do not take any more than the recommended dosage.
Calcium is a basic mineral that is essential for building and maintaining strong bones and teeth. It is also needed to regulate nerve and muscle function, including the contraction of your heart. Calcium also helps with other important bodily processes.
Calcium is found in many foods, such as milk and dairy products, sardines, canned salmon, and kale. Calcium supplements are also available at most pharmacies. Calcium carbonate is the most common type of calcium supplement. Calcium citrate is another form of calcium supplement.
Calcium supplements are recommended for people who are lactose-intolerant or have milk allergies because it is available in many different forms.
Most people can get the daily recommended amount of calcium by eating a varied diet.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not recommend taking calcium supplements to prevent osteoporosis due to the lack of evidence that it is effective.
Calcium supplements are not recommended for women with a personal or family history of kidney stones because calcium supplements may increase the risk of kidney stones.
Always consult your doctor before taking calcium supplements or changing your diet.
Calcium is a vital mineral that is important for building and maintaining strong bones and teeth. It is also necessary for regulating nerve and muscle function, including the contraction of your heart. Calcium supplements can be purchased without a prescription at most drug stores.
Calcium supplements are available as tablets, capsules, syrups, and solutions for injections. Calcium supplements may contain calcium carbonate, citrate, lactate, gluconate, or phosphate.
Calcium carbonate is the most common form of calcium used in supplements. Calcium carbonate is relatively cheap and goes through a lot of processing to purify it, which makes the finished product less expensive. Calcium carbonate may cause stomach upset. Calcium citrate does not cause stomach upset, but it may not be as readily absorbed by the body.
Calcium can also be found in some foods. For example, sardines and canned salmon contain calcium. Kale, collard greens, and broccoli also contain calcium.
Calcium is an important mineral that keeps your bones and teeth strong. It also helps to regulate the contraction of your heart and other muscles. If you don’t get enough calcium, your body will take the mineral from your bones, which can lead to osteoporosis.
Calcium is an essential part of a healthy diet for most people.
Some medical conditions may cause your body to excrete calcium at an abnormal rate, which can lead to osteoporosis. These conditions may include kidney disease or a deficiency of parathyroid hormone. Kidney disease causes high levels of calcium to be excreted in the urine. A deficiency of parathyroid hormone causes bones to break down and release calcium into the blood.
The National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) recommends that women over 50 consume 1,200 mg of calcium per day. Men over 50 should consume 1,000 mg of calcium per day.
Dairy products are one of the best food sources of calcium. Other good sources of calcium include sardines, canned salmon, tofu prepared with calcium sulfate, and bok choy.
Calcium tablets may contain harmful ingredients or cause an allergic reaction. Always read the ingredients before taking a calcium supplement. People who have milk allergies should avoid calcium supplements that contain lactose.
For people with lactose intolerance, lactose-free supplements may be an option. Lactose-free calcium supplements may cause fewer gastrointestinal side effects.
Calcium can interact with certain prescription and over-the-counter medications. Always tell your doctor about any supplements you may be taking when you are prescribed a new medication.
Always tell your doctor if you are taking a calcium supplement before you have any surgery. Calcium can increase the risk of dangerous irregular heartbeats, also known as cardiac arrhythmias.
Do not exceed the recommended dosage of calcium supplements without speaking to your doctor. Calcium overdoses can lead to irregular heartbeats, also known as tachycardia. Taking more than the recommended dosage can also cause stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Do not take calcium supplements if you have kidney disease or a parathyroid disorder.
Do not take a calcium supplement without first talking to your doctor if you have hyperparathyroidism or sarcoidosis. These medical conditions cause bones to break down and release calcium into the blood.
Always tell your doctor if you are taking a calcium supplement before you have any tests that use DXA (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry). DXA scans are used to detect osteoporosis. A calcium supplement may cause DXA scans to produce inaccurate results. Calcium supplements may also prevent you from receiving a test called a fracture DXA, which is used to detect broken bones.
Always take calcium supplements with food.
More evidence is needed to rate calcium for treatment of primary hyperparathyroidism.
Research suggests that taking a calcium supplement may not benefit people who have normal thyroid function, but more studies are needed.
Calcium is when calcium carbonate (a dietary supplement) is added to someone’s daily diet in order to prevent or treat a calcium deficiency.
Sources & references used in this article:
- Calcium signaling (DE Clapham – Cell, 1995 – Elsevier)
- Calcium signaling (DE Clapham – Cell, 2007 – Elsevier)
- Calcium (DA Bushinsky, RD Monk – The Lancet, 1998 – Elsevier)
- Capacitative calcium entry (MJ Berridge – Biochemical Journal, 1995 – portlandpress.com)
- Calcium-induced calcium release (HL Roderick, MJ Berridge, MD Bootman – Current Biology, 2003 – cell.com)