As of 2021, approximately 14.1 million Americans suffer from osteoporosis and other calcium deficiency related pain and illnesses. Osteoporosis most commonly affects women more than men, and calcium deficiency related symptoms often start showing in the 50s age range. Studies postulate that maintenance of healthy calcium level is key in preventing and treating osteoporosis and calcium deficiency related illnesses.
Often, people turn to calcium supplements to optimize their calcium levels, but the supplement market is diluted with a myriad of products that have incorrect dosages and additives that the body doesn’t need. There can also be dangerous side effects from overconsuming calcium (which may lead to calcium overdose) that not many people are aware of. Therefore, it’s important to educate ourselves in finding the right calcium supplement by first understanding the function and associated risks that different levels of calcium have in our body.
What Is the Function of Calcium?
Calcium is an essential mineral that serves many functions in the human body. Calcium is integral in maintaining healthy bones and teeth, cardiovascular system, nerves, circulation and brain function. Without the proper levels of calcium, your body would struggle to circulate blood, use muscles, transmit neurons, replicate DNA, control apoptosis of cancer cells, and release hormones.
There are three kinds of calcium in the body: anion calcium that binds to minerals, calcium that binds to protein and also ionic (free) calcium that does not bind to any proteins. Out of the three, iconic calcium is the most active and widely recognized form of calcium available in our body.
Promotes Bone Health
Did you know, 99 percent of the calcium in your body is stored in your bones and teeth? Calcium is a big part of bone and dental health. It is the mineral calcium that fortifies your bones, making them dense and strong.
The process of calcium homeostasis regulates the flow of calcium to and from the bones. When we don’t consume enough calcium through our diet, our body will extract calcium from our bones for energy and function.
Therefore it’s essential that we maintain a healthy level of calcium in growing children and adults who experience bone loss through the natural aging process.
Regulates Muscle Contraction
Calcium plays a major role in the healthy functioning of the body’s musculature system. When your nerves stimulate a muscle, the body responds by releasing calcium. Calcium helps the muscle contract.
Assists the Cardiovascular System
Calcium helps maintain circulation and healthy heart muscle. Calcium’s job is to relax the smooth muscle that surrounds blood vessels in the body. Some studies even suggest that consuming high levels of calcium may have an effect on lowering blood pressure.
How Much Calcium Do You Need?
Our bodies need different amounts of calcium at various stages in our lives. Health experts recommend 1,000 milligrams (mg) per day for the average adult.
Here is the recommended amount of calcium broken down by age:
- Birth to 6 months: 200 mg
- Seven to 12 months: 260 mg
- One to three years: 700 mg
- Four to eight years: 1,000 mg
- Nine to 18 years: 1,300 mg
- 19 to 51 years: 1,000 mg
- 51 to 70 years: 1,000 mg (males) or 1,200 mg (females)
- 71 years onward: 1,200 mg
There are times throughout the course of our lives where our bodies need differentiating levels of calcium. It is important to know how much calcium your body needs to avoid calcium overdose or deficiency.
What Are the Health Risks Associated With Calcium Deficiency?
Calcium deficiency occurs when our body isn’t getting the amount of calcium it needs. Not everyone is able to get the recommended amount of calcium from diet alone.
Calcium deficiency may increase the risk of developing health issues. The most common health issue related to calcium deficiency is osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a disease that makes bones brittle, porous, and prone to fracturing.
Calcium deficiency can also lead to the development of:
- muscle cramps (latent tetany)
- rickets (bone softening in children)
- osteomalacia (bone softening in adults)
Many people take calcium to reduce the risk of diseases like cancer, stroke, and heart disease. It can also help with symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, leg cramps, depression during pregnancy, and pre-eclampsia.
What Controls Calcium Homeostasis?
The management of calcium homeostasis involves the thyroid and parathyroid glands. If either of these glands experiences dysfunction, this can disrupt calcium homeostasis and result in many unwanted diseases.
Where Does Calcium Come From?
You may not know this but, the human body does not produce its own supply of calcium. That’s why we are reliant on special diets and supplements to get the appropriate levels of calcium in our bodies to achieve calcium homeostasis.
Food Sources of Calcium
There are many calcium-rich foods that are already part of a nutritious and well-balanced diet. Dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt contain high levels of calcium.
Dark green vegetables like kale, spinach, and broccoli as well as legumes like white beans are also high in calcium. Sardines contain a significant amount of calcium, too.
You can also find good sources of calcium in calcium-fortified bread, cereals, soy products, and orange juices.
Vitamin D plays a critical role in helping our bodies absorb calcium as it encourages the synthesis of proteins in the body.
Vitamin D rich foods include salmon, egg yolks, some dairy products and mushrooms. In order for the body to absorb calcium, it needs to be in the form of physiological ionic calcium.
Absorbing conventional calcium in combination with vitamin D is not as effective as physiological ionic calcium. In fact, protein type calcium can cause increased risk of cardiovascular calcification and other problems.
When your diet does not include enough calcium, it is common to take calcium supplements. Calcium supplements can increase your daily calcium intake by 300 mg per day on average.
Fortunately, many calcium supplements contain vitamin D as well. They may also contain magnesium, which is another mineral that helps to strengthen bones.
Different Type of Calcium Supplements
There are several different types of calcium supplements to choose from. Keep in mind that not all calcium supplements contain the same ingredients therefore you should use caution when choosing a supplement.
Calcium carbonate is the most common calcium supplement. It is also the cheapest. Calcium carbonate can be dangerous in large amounts.
Calcium citrate is the second most common calcium supplement available. It contains 21 percent elemental calcium.
Ionic calcium is considered the most beneficial calcium supplement. Ionic calcium is the form of calcium most easily recognized by the body. In total, 45 to 50 percent of the calcium found in the blood is ionic calcium. However, calcium supplements that claim to be ionic calcium in the market are only chemically ionic, and they still require vitamin D in order to be absorbed by our body.
Ionic calcium supplements offer maximum absorbability. When in liquid form, ionic calcium also provides increased safety and flexibility.
Calcium Gluconate is a medication used to treat the symptoms of hypocalcemia, or calcium deficiency. Calcium gluconate contains 9 percent elemental calcium.
Calcium lactate is derived from lactic acid. It is often added to calcium supplements. Calcium lactate contains 13 percent elemental calcium.
Side Effects & Risks of Calcium Overdose
Calcium supplements may offer crucial life-enhancing benefits. However, there may also be some risks and side effects involved as well.
Side Effects of Calcium Supplements
When taken in too large quantities, calcium can cause gastrointestinal distress like bloating, constipation, and gas.
The most common calcium supplement, calcium citrate, has fewer and milder side effects than calcium carbonate. Calcium carbonate is often associated with the side effects of calcium overdose.
It is important to take calcium supplements throughout the day rather than in one dose. Calcium supplements are always best absorbed with food.
Risks Associated With Calcium Overdose
As with any mineral or nutrient, it is important to consume the correct amount of calcium. Consuming calcium over the recommended dose can lead to calcium overdose which may cause constipation, kidney stones, kidney dysfunction, bone loss, cardiovascular problems, and calcification of soft tissue and blood vessels.
How To Avoid Calcium Overdose: Choosing the Right Supplement
Conventional calcium supplements pose the greatest risk of calcium overdose and many adverse side effects. Many common calcium supplements contain harmful levels of vitamins and minerals your body doesn’t need and can lead to calcium overdose.
To achieve the ideal level of calcium your body needs, check out Marah Natural’s ionic calcium supplements made with sole proprietary technology. Physiologically active Ionic calcium is the best way to maintain calcium homeostasis and is one of the best supplements to ease the dis-ease state.
Check out Marah Natural’s entire line of revolutionary true ionic calcium supplements today.