- 1 Why do you need calcium?
- 2 How much calcium do you need each day?
- 3 Who Should Use Calcium Supplements?
- 4 The Potential Benefits of Calcium Supplements
- 5 The Potential Health Risks of Calcium Supplements
- 6 Use Calcium Supplements in a nutshell
Many people take calcium supplements in hopes of strengthening their bones and teeth. However, these dietary supplements can come with drawbacks and even health risks, including increasing the risk of heart disease.
In this article, we describe all the nutrition and supplement facts about calcium that are interesting to know, including who should take them, the health benefits, and the possible risks.
Why do you need calcium?
Your body needs calcium to build and maintain strong bones. More than 99% of the calcium in your body is stored in your bones and teeth.
In the bloodstream, it is used to send nerve signals, release hormones – such as insulin – and regulate how muscles and blood vessels contract and widen.
It’s so important that if you don’t get the recommended amount through your diet, your body will extract it from your skeleton and teeth to use elsewhere, weakening your bones and teeth. Now that we’ve described why you need calcium, let’s take a closer look at the amount of calcium you need each day in the next paragraph.
How much calcium do you need each day?
Below are the current recommendations were drawn up by the Nutrition Center:
6-11 months: 450 mg per day
1-3 years: 500 mg per day
4-8 years: 700 mg per day
9-13 years: 1,200 mg per day
14-17 years: 1,200 mg per day
18-24 years: 1,000 mg per day
25-69 years: 950 mg per day
70 years and older: 1,200 mg per day
9-13 years: 1,100 mg per day
14-17 years: 1,100 mg per day
18-24 years: 1,000 mg per day
25-50 years: 950 mg per day
51-69 years: 1,100 mg per day
70 years and older: 1,200 mg per day
Pregnant women: 1,000 mg per day
Nursing women: 1,000 mg per day
There is also an upper limit regarding daily calcium intake. This upper limit is 2,500 mg per day for adults up to 50 years of age and 2,000 mg per day for adults over 50.
It is possible to get enough calcium through your diet. Foods that contain this mineral include dairy products, certain leafy vegetables, nuts, beans, and tofu. People who are not eating enough calcium-rich foods may want to consider taking supplements.
Who Should Use Calcium Supplements?
When your calcium intake is insufficient, your body will remove calcium from your bones and teeth, making them weak and brittle. This can cause osteoporosis.
Because women are at higher risk of developing osteoporosis, many doctors recommend taking calcium supplements – especially once menopause has been reached. As a result, older women in particular take more calcium supplements.
In addition, calcium is often found in supplements for children, because they need a lot of this nutrient to develop their teeth and bones. The mineral calcium is therefore a real powerhouse for children who are in the growth phase!
If you’re not getting the recommended daily amount of calcium through your diet, supplements can help remedy this deficiency.
You may also want to consider calcium supplements if you:
- Follow a vegan diet
- Eating a high-protein or sodium-rich diet means your body needs more calcium
- Have a condition (such as Crohn’s disease) that limits your body’s ability to absorb calcium
- Long-term treatment with corticosteroids
- have osteoporosis
The Potential Benefits of Calcium Supplements
Calcium supplements may provide several health benefits. Are you considering adding a calcium supplement to your diet? Always discuss this with a medical specialist first. After all, they can map out your personal situation.
Are you curious about the possible benefits of calcium supplements? Then read on. Below we tell you all about it!
A Calcium Supplement Helps Postmenopausal Women Prevent Bone Loss
After menopause, women lose bone mass due to a decrease in estrogen.
Fortunately, calcium supplementation can help. Several studies on calcium have suggested that giving calcium supplements to postmenopausal women—about 1,000mg per day—can reduce bone loss by 1-2%.
Calcium supplements may help with fat loss
Studies have associated low calcium intake with a high body mass index (BMI) and high body fat percentage.
A 2016 study examined the effects of giving 600 mg of calcium to overweight and obese students with very low calcium intakes. The study found that those who took a supplement containing 600 mg of calcium and 125 IU of vitamin D lost more body fat than those who did not take the supplement. Taking both calcium and vitamin D is also widely used by athletes and athletes – this combination ensures that muscle mass is better preserved and injuries are more effectively prevented.
Calcium may help lower the risk of colon cancer
According to a large study, calcium from dairy products and supplements may lower the risk of colon cancer. A previous review of 10 studies led to similar results.
The Potential Health Risks of Calcium Supplements
Recent studies have revealed that calcium supplements can actually cause some health problems. However, the evidence is diverse.
Calcium may increase the risk of heart disease
Perhaps the most controversial finding of calcium supplements is that they may increase the risk of some types of heart disease, including heart attack and stroke. However, more research is needed to determine the effect of calcium supplements on heart health.
The risk of kidney stones may increase due to calcium supplementation
There is some evidence that a calcium supplement increases the risk of kidney stones.
In one study, 36,000 postmenopausal women were given a daily supplement containing 1,000 mg of calcium and 400 IU of vitamin D or a placebo pill. The results showed that those who took the supplement (containing calcium and vitamin D) had an increased risk of kidney stones.
Use Calcium Supplements in a nutshell
Calcium supplements can help people who are both at risk for osteoporosis, as well as not getting enough calcium from their diet.
While some research findings point to a link between calcium supplements and heart disease, this link has not been conclusively established.
It is known that taking more than the recommended daily amount of calcium can increase the risk of kidney stones.
Calcium supplements are probably fine as a supplement to your diet, but the best way to get calcium is by consuming calcium-rich foods. Aim to include a variety of calcium-rich foods in your diet. Before taking calcium supplements, it is important to discuss this with a doctor or dietitian.