Calcium is a major component of bones.
Adequate calcium intake is essential in preventing osteoporosis,
a disease in which the bones gradually become porous and susceptible
to fractures. The spine, hips and wrists are most affected by osteoporosis.
The daily requirement for calcium is 1000 - 1500
mg per day, depending on your age and sex. Your body can only absorb
about 500 mg of elemental calcium at a time. Take enough to make
up for the shortage in your diet. If you are taking a calcium supplement
with a glass of milk (a cup of milk has 250 mg), the calcium supplement
should only be about 250 mg.
Vitamin D is required for the utilization of calcium.
Besides sunlight exposure, the only other way to get enough Vitamin
D is through supplements or food that has been supplemented with
vitamin D (Milk is usually fortified with vitamin D) or fish liver
oil. You need 400 IU- 800 IU of vitamin D per day.
Increase Magnesium intake when Calcium intake
is increased. Generally, the body requires double the amount of
calcium as magnesium. Take more magnesium along with more calcium
to prevent a calcium/magnesium imbalance. There are many supplements
that combine Calcium, Magnesium, and vitamin D for a synergistic
effect. Magnesium, like calcium, helps prevent muscle spasms.
*Soft drinks, coffee, and excessive amounts of alcohol interfere
slightly with the absorption of calcium. Extra calcium can be taken
to compensate for this.
*Antacids containing aluminum interfere with the absorption of calcium
Calcium supplements come in many forms. Some forms
of calcium, usually calcium carbonate or calcium derived from shellfish,
can cause stomach upset. Calcium carbonate is popular because it
is the least expensive. Calcium citrate, calcium lactate, and calcium
gluconate are usually well tolerated.
Taking calcium with a meal increases its absorption,
as most forms of calcium require stomach acid to be absorbed. Calcium
citrate can be taken any time, as it does not need stomach acid
to be absorbed.
As important as it is to get enough calcium, calcium reduces the
absorption of certain nutrients - iron and zinc in particular. It
can also interfere with the absorption of certain medications. Take
medications and iron separately for maximum absorption.
Calcium should be taken consistently, along with Vitamin D, to
maintain bone health. Taking magnesium with calcium will prevent
a calcium/magnesium imbalance.
*Calcium or magnesium may interfere with the absorption of certain
medications. If you are on prescription medication, check with your
doctor before taking any supplement.
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