Calcium and Calcium Supplements

Calcium supplements; do you need it and are you taking the right supplement in the right way?

Calcium is important for maintaining electrolyte balance in body fluids. Plus calcium is a structural component of bones and teeth, it plays a role in muscle contraction, blood clotting and enzymatic reactions.

Best sources include cheese and yoghurt, salmon and sardines. Veggies such as turnip, mustard greens, broccoli, cauliflower, kale and dried fruits provide a relatively high amount of calcium. Legumes especially tofu are also a good source, meats, on the other hand, are a poor source of calcium.

Calcium carbonate does not absorb well without hydrochloric acid, so if you are taking antacids or proton pump inhibitors your calcium will not be getting absorbed. If stomach acid is not a problem make sure you are taking calcium carbonate with your food and in small doses as calcium absorbs better in low doses. Calcium citrate is better absorbed and it doesn’t require stomach acid for absorption.

Vitamin D is also required for the absorption of calcium. Vitamin D deficiency is widespread as many people are not getting the required sunlight or food sources.

Diet also plays a role in calcium deposition and function. If you are having too much soft drink, for instance, this will pull calcium from the bones to act as a buffer in the blood to counter the effects of the soft drink. Prolonged consumption can lead to secondary hyperparathyroidism.

Zinc, magnesium, iron, fibre, phytates and oxalates are nutrients that are either inhibit calcium absorption or are inhibited by too much calcium. Furthermore, too much sodium, protein or caffeine enhances the excretion of calcium through the kidneys.

Menopause is another factor that reduces calcium absorption as reduced oestrogen levels decrease the vitamin D mediated absorption of calcium.

Calcium can interact with blood pressure tablets and antibiotics, always consult your practitioner prior to taking supplements.

If you would like to discuss any details further please email me or schedule an appointment.