Famous English author, Terry Pratchett once said… “human beings, little bags of thinking water, held up briefly by the fragile accumulation of calcium”!!! 

Funny … but true !!!

Helloo… all health champs over there !!!

Curious about Calcium supplements for so long? We will unwind the truth here, in very simple terms …  

So let's get started - 

What is calcium? 

That much-heard word …still, with many people with deficiency worldwide !!! 

Let's understand - 

Calcium is an essential mineral for skeletal and dental health and a super protector of the entire skeleton. The deficiency of Calcium leads to many deficiency syndromes like osteoporosis or thin bone condition, hypoparathyroidism, achlorhydria, chronic diarrhea, vitamin D deficiency, steatorrhea, pancreatitis, renal failure, alkalosis, hyperphosphatemia, etc.

More about Calcium -

  • Many studies suggest that calcium, along with vitamin D, may have benefits beyond bone health, eg, it impacts well on the health of the heart, muscles, and nerves.
  • Especially a true companion and support system for women… hence, My Fair Ladies… don’t neglect calcium intake, especially after menopause when the risk of fractures increases.
  • Also, Patients with rheumatoid arthritis must include calcium supplements.

Sources of calcium? 

  • Dairy foods 
  • Leafy green vegetables, 
  • Calcium-fortified foods
  • Grains, 
  • Figs, 
  • Fish with soft bones, 
  • Calcium supplements 

 What is the optimum quantity required?  

Do you need extra calcium? When and why?

It depends on age, lifestyle, health status, diet pattern, and any other medical conditions of a person, etc.

Remember, as the age gets older, we need to increase the consumption of calcium-rich food or must include the required amount of calcium supplement…. You can consult a physician too regarding “that” extra mg of calcium, depending upon your lifestyle and physical condition, etc.

…And that's the key guys, to stand straight in your life :)

But on average, we can consider the most accepted calcium requirement as below -

  • From 19 to 50 years: 1,000 mg/day
  • From 51 to 70 years: For Men - 1,000 mg/day; For Women - 1,200 mg/day

And …

  • For Youngsters of age 71 years and over :)-  1,200 mg/day

Do you know guys … The body needs vitamin D to help absorb calcium - hence interestingly vitamin D3 is known as a bone vitamin.

{More about this information is in another blog for health champs … so stay tuned :) } 

Types of calcium supplements available?

It is a must for one to know how much calcium is needed and what types of supplements are the most appropriate, as too much or too little calcium, is problematic.

The most common calcium supplements are labeled as 

  • Calcium carbonate (40% elemental calcium);
  • Calcium citrate (21% elemental calcium);
  • Calcium lactate (13% elemental calcium); and
  • Calcium gluconate (9% elemental calcium)

Forms of Calcium include:

Additionally, some supplements can be combined with vitamin D or magnesium. That's why Product labels should be read carefully to know the ingredients. 

While selecting calcium supplements certain factors must be taken into consideration like -

  • Elemental Calcium: This is what the body absorbs for bone growth and well-being of the body, hence knowledge about the actual amount of calcium in the supplement is very important. 

Then what can be done? 

Simple… read the label carefully which will show how much calcium is contained in one serving (number of tablets). eg, say, 125 mg of calcium carbonate contains, 50 mg of elemental calcium.

  • Supplement Choice: people with previous gas or bloating problems may change the brand of supplement or type, say... Instead of calcium carbonate, give it a try with calcium citrate.
  • Dosage forms - Calcium supplements are available in a variety of dosage forms, including chewable tablets, capsules, liquids, and powders. Hence, go with your own choice !!!
  • Drug Interactions: Calcium supplements may interact with many other prescribed medications, hence, choose the one after the doctor’s advice.
  • Bioavailability: The body must be able to absorb calcium so that it is bioavailable and effective… hence, know your body type and the supplement you are taking !!! 
  • Cost and Quality: Make sure, the brand you are choosing meets quality parameters and an assured percentage of bioavailable calcium. 
  • Is calcium supplement good? can we rely on supplements?

  • What does the research say? 

    • Almost 3 out of 10 people are not getting the required nutrition to maintain strong bones. And as we saw above, calcium is an uncompromising mineral as it helps muscles and the nervous system work properly.
    • And even with healthy eating and a balanced diet, one may not get enough calcium as per daily body requirements.

    Who must include calcium supplements? 

    One who-

    • Are vegan diet followers.
    • Have lactose intolerance and hence cant include dairy products. 
    • Take large amounts of protein or sodium. 
    • Is suffering from osteoporosis. 
    • Have undergone long-term treatment with corticosteroids.
    • Is suffering from any of the bowel or digestive diseases that decrease their calcium absorption ability.
  • Concerns and precautions while including calcium supplements- 

  • Any Side Effects? 

    • It varies from person to person and depends on many other factors like water consumption, exercise, intake of the optimum amount of calcium, etc. 
    • Bloating, gas, and sometimes constipation are more common with calcium carbonate.
    • There were talks in the scientific community regarding the potential adverse effects of high calcium intake on cardiovascular health among people over age 65 due to calcification of veins and arteries. (REFERENCE 3,4)
    • However, recent studies have cleared that- no increased risk of heart attack or stroke among women taking calcium supplements during 24 years of research and follow-up. (REFERENCE 3,4)
    • Too much calcium can prevent the body from absorbing other minerals.
    • Extra intake may raise the risk of kidney stones in some people - More than the recommended daily amount may even be harmful, according to a 2011 study in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

    Precautions - 

    • Taking calcium supplements and eating calcium-fortified foods at the same may increase calcium above normal levels. Hence it is very important to stick to the prescribed dosage.10
    • Increase the dose of your calcium supplement slowly. Most physicians suggest starting with 500 mg a day for a week and then adding more over time.

    If you have observed any side effects, try this …

    • Drink more fluids.
    • Eat high-fiber foods.
    • Switch to another form of calcium.
    • Always tell your doctor if you are taking extra calcium because Calcium supplements may change the way your body absorbs some medicines. 
    • Some people may have a condition that builds excess calcium in their bloodstream (hypercalcemia) they should avoid calcium supplements.


                                      …Is to achieve the right balance of dosage and to choose the right kind of calcium supplement for your steel frame.  

    Health freak folks like you can happily go with calcium supplements brought to you by “zeroharm science, Pvt. Ltd”. 

                             Give it a try and see the difference !!!