The Role and Importance of Calcium Supplements?
What is Calcium?
Calcium is one of the most essential minerals needed in the human body and an important supplement to take. Even though our body needs calcium, we don’t produce the mineral. We get it from the food we eat every day.
What are the benefits of calcium?
Calcium is required to –
- form the bones and the teeth
- increase bone mineral density,
- promote good dental health,
- promote good cardiovascular health,
- facilitate blood clotting,
- transmit signals in the nerve cells and for healthy nerves,
- contract muscles and general muscle health,
- prevent osteoporosis,
- regulate blood pressure.
Calcium is required right from childhood to old age to ensure the proper functioning of the skeletal system.
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Is there any normal dosage of calcium required?
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) as per Indian Council of Medical Research guidelines 2010 for Calcium is 600 mg for Men and Women doing Moderate work, 600 mg for children aged 1-9 years and 800mg for children aged 10 years and above.
Who is affected by a lack of calcium?
Even if you eat a healthy and balanced diet, you may find it difficult to get enough calcium if you –
- Have osteoporosis,
- Don’t like milk or are lactose intolerant,
- Partake of a vegan diet,
- Have been treated with corticosteroids for a long duration,
- Have a restricted ability to absorb calcium resulting from some bowel or digestive diseases such as celiac disease or inflammatory bowel disease,
- Consume large amounts of protein or sodium, which can cause your body to excrete more calcium,
- Are a lactating mother,
- Are a postmenopausal woman
In such situations, supplements of calcium can help you meet your daily calcium requirements. Consult a health professional or dietitian to determine if you should partake of calcium supplements.
Are there any side effects of excess calcium?
Taking extra calcium over a long period of time raises the risk of kidney stones in some people. Too much calcium can prevent the body from absorbing iron, zinc, magnesium, and phosphorus. It can also cause constipation.
Calcium supplements are generally safe, but we should avoid excessive doses. Higher than RDA amounts of calcium will not provide extra bone protection. Do not take more than the recommended amount of calcium without asking your doctor. Remaining fit, active and avoiding smoking can also protect bones and keep them stronger.
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