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Does everybody need to take calcium pills?
It’s true that every healthy body needs calcium. However, relying on just your diet to ensure the right amounts of the mineral are being consumed is unreliable.
While some individuals have diet restrictions, others may have health conditions which minimises the amount of calcium being absorbed by the body.
So how do you know if you need more calcium? With some people, they will know that their diets – for whatever reason – do not contain enough calcium.
In some cases, people have been revealed to have low calcium levels when they have experienced, numbness, tingling in their fingers, convulsions and an irregular heartbeat. These conditions need to be treated urgently to avoid long term damage, and calcium deficiency can sometimes be a small symptom of a larger illness.
Calcium pills are recommended if you:
- Follow a vegan diet
- Are lactose intolerant and/or restrict dairy products in the diet
- Have a diet which contains large levels of protein or sodium, this causes your body to excrete more calcium
- Have osteoporosis
- Are receiving long-term treatment with corticosteroids
- Suffer from any digestive diseases that inhibit the absorption go calcium – such as inflammatory bowel disease or coeliac disease
Although, like with anything, speak to your doctor or pharmacist before starting any type of supplements.
Medical advice is important, particularly with calcium. You may have a condition or be on medication where added calcium to the body may cause some harm.
According to this blog, some examples of this include:
- Calcium can reduce the absorption of these drugs when taken together:
- Bisphosphonates (to treat osteoporosis)
- Antibiotics of the fluoroquinolone and tetracycline families
- Levothyroxine (to treat low thyroid activity)
- Phenytoin (an anticonvulsant)
- Tiludronate disodium (to treat Paget’s disease).
- Diuretics differ in their effects. Thiazide-type diuretics (such as Diuril® and Lozol®) reduce calcium excretion by the kidneys which in turn can raise blood calcium levels too high. But loop diuretics (such as Lasix® and Bumex®) increase calcium excretion and thereby lower blood calcium levels.
- Antacids containing aluminum or magnesium increase calcium loss in the urine.
- Mineral oil and stimulant laxatives reduce calcium absorption.
- Glucocorticoids (such as prednisone) can cause calcium depletion and eventually osteoporosis when people use them for months at a time.
Speak to your doctor or GP, and see if you can benefit from calcium pills.