Since you were a child being encouraged to drink a carton of milk at lunch, you have been told that Calcium is an essential nutrient leading to strong bones. Calcium also affects other aspects of your health and development, including potentially preventing chronic disease and working alongside Vitamin D to maintain blood pressure, as well as support your heart and other muscles. Calcium supplements can be a great way to boost your calcium levels and support your bone, heart, muscle, and nerve health.
Why take a calcium supplement?
Taking a calcium supplement can be beneficial to those at risk of calcium deficiency. Without adequate calcium, children and adolescents may struggle with bone density problems and may not reach their full potential adult height.
Older adults may end up with low bone mass, which puts them at greater risk for osteoporosis. Those over 50 may be particularly at risk and can face additional consequences such as greater injury from falls and slower healing time from bone injuries.
Taking a calcium supplement alongside Vitamin D consumption may prevent or control high blood pressure. Additionally, there is evidence in favor of calcium and vitamin D working to ease PMS symptoms as well as potentially reduce the risk of certain cancers in women, such as breast cancer.
Who should take a Calcium Supplement?
Those who are at the highest risk for becoming calcium deficient are people following a dairy-free diet, including vegans and those who are lactose intolerant. Calcium-rich foods are believed to primarily include dairy, but plant-based options include leafy greens such as Kale and certain cabbages, as well as soy products and tofu. Other at-risk groups include perimenopausal women and anyone with an existing osteoporosis diagnosis.
Calcium Supplement Risks
While calcium supplements can provide many benefits, too high an intake of calcium can cause health issues. Some side effects may include gastrointestinal issues, kidney stones, and interactions with other drugs such as those treating heart disease. It is also possible to overdose on calcium, so a medical professional should always be consulted before beginning calcium supplements if you are unsure of the dosage and any potential interactions.
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