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Before we begin, here’s a few fun calcium facts (courtesy of NaturalSavvy.com):
- Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body.
- Calcium is 1.5-2% of our body weight.
- 98% of all calcium is found in our bones, 1% in our teeth and 1% in other tissues.
- Calcium requires many other minerals for healthy bone formation: magnesium, boron, manganese, zinc, copper, silicon, strontium and phosphorus.
- Calcium requires vitamins A, C, D and K for optimal metabolism.
- Calcium absorption becomes less efficient with age.
- Aside from osteoporosis, calcium deficiency can cause kidney stones and allows the body to accumulate lead.
- High animal protein (very high in phosphorus) intakes may incrase calcium loss through the intestines and kidneys.
- A very high fat intake also inhibits calcium absorption.
- Hydrochloric acid helps calcium absorption in the duodenum where most calcium is absorbed.
- Antacids and prescription acid supressing drugs all reduce calcium absorption.
- Stress can lower calcium absorption.
- Excess sugar and salt intake leads to calcium loss in the urine.
- Phytic acid (phytates) found in whole grain foods or foods rich in fiber may reduce the absorption of calcium and other minerals as well.
- Foods high in oxalic acid (spinach, rhubarb, chard, and chocolate) can interfere with calcium absorption by forming insoluble saltes in the gut.
- 3–80% of all calcium consumed is not absorbed due to all the above factors.
- An overactive thyroid function can cause calcium loss from bone.
Calcium is clearly vital to the functioning of a healthy body. But if you’re vegan, vegetarian or suffer from dairy or seafood intolerances, it can be so difficult to maintain the right amounts on a daily basis. Calcium tablets are an effective and easy way to maintain the right levels. Look at what is best for you and get advice from a GP. Some doctors will recommend calcium carbonate, however, you might well find more benefits from calcium citrate.
The main objective is – if you’re under 50, get around 1000mg of calcium a day. That is equivalent to around three glasses of milk. This goes up as you get older, when you are relying on bone strength to combat the ageing of the body.
Calcium tablets are great, especially when taken with vitamin D to help the body absorb. However, focus on a good diet too – rich in nuts, leafy vegetables and dairy.