A life-saving mineral, Calcium, in the literal sense is the backbone of a healthy body. It is the largest mineral content in the human body, with almost 99% of it being present in bones and teeth and the rest of it contained in nerve cells, body tissues, blood, and other body fluids. Besides maintaining the health of bones and teeth, Calcium has lot many properties to keep human body running. Calcium helps in blood clotting, muscle contraction, hormone release, cellular metabolism, nerve impulse transmission and keeps heartbeat under check. Calcium is indeed a super mineral. So, are you taking enough calcium to maintain a healthy body? These days, amidst our busy schedule, we often make the mistake of substituting foods with supplements. But is that really helping us? Are supplements adequate and strong enough to make up for the natural nutrient deficiency? Let’s find out more about Calcium supplements - its usage, pros, and cons.
Calcium Supplements - Usage & Who should take them?
When you are not taking sufficient calcium from dietary sources, your body uses up calcium from bones and teeth making them weak and leading to a low level of bone density. Your risk of suffering from osteoporosis and osteopenia is evident in such cases and that calls for a Calcium deficiency treatment. Usually, calcium supplements along with nutritious food are prescribed.
Doctors also write down a prescription for calcium supplements in the following circumstances:
- When patient’s blood contains high levels of potassium, phosphorus or magnesium.
- A person follows a vegan diet or is lactose intolerant.
- Older women who have reached menopause.
- High protein and sodium diet that leads to excess calcium excretion.
- A person has health issues like Crohn’s disease or inflammatory bowel disease that limits the absorption of Calcium in the body.
Calcium Supplements - Good or bad?
The Pros -
- Highly beneficial for post-menopausal women as bone mass starts eroding due to fall in levels of estrogen.
- Opt for Calcium Supplements with Vitamin D as it leads to proper calcium absorption helping in weight loss.
- Good for pregnant women as Calcium supplements improve metabolic markers.
- Calcium is also known to control high blood pressure, reduce PMS symptoms and lower risk of colon cancer.
The Cons -
- Many recent studies have shown that calcium supplements might lead to increased risk of heart diseases. Calcium taken from food sources is very beneficial to the body; however, calcium in the form of pills pose to heart health hazard risk.
- Prostate Cancer is linked to high levels of Calcium in blood.
- Regular intake of Calcium supplements leads to increased risk of kidney stones.
- With a high level of Calcium in your blood, you might suffer from a condition called hypercalcemia.
Often kids refuse to have milk or other calcium-rich foods, but supplemental forms to substitute their healthy diet should never be an option unless the doctor advises so. Parents should always encourage their kids to eat calcium-rich food for strong bones and teeth. Also, make sure that there is an added Vitamin D to their diet as the body uses Vitamin D for better absorption of calcium.
Calcium Rich Diet:
Consider including dairy products like milk, cottage cheese, curd and cheese in your diet. Try canned sardines and salmons, these fish with edible bones are a good source of natural calcium supply. Think eggs, broccoli, green leafy veggies like kale, almonds, black beans, tofu and orange juice in case you are lactose intolerant.
Popping a number of calcium supplements just for the sake of balancing work and nutrition intake is unacceptable. There is nothing that can complement a well-balanced diet to maintain good health. Give those pills a miss and opt for calcium-rich foods. You will save your health from many complications in the long-run.