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Calcium and Calcium Supplements: Achieving the Right Balance

Calcium and Calcium Supplements: Achieving the Right Balance
Calcium is important for bone health throughout your life. Although diet is the best way to get calcium, calcium supplements may be an option if your diet falls short.

But let’s take a look at elemental essentiality of Calcium to better understand the importance it has in improving one’s overall wellbeing. Calcium is one of the most essential elements present within the human body. Although only constituting 1.5 % of the total body mass its importance in the fun  cannot be over emphasized. It is an integral component of our teeth and bones. By moving across cell membranes of our heart muscles and  tissues it causes their contraction and thus making our heart beat and conduct electrical current. It is responsible for contraction of muscles eventually enabling us to do everything from breathing to walking, running, jumping and what not. It also plays a role in conduction of impulses in our nervous system. In normal circumstances the levels of calcium are harmonized in synchrony with other elements such as magnesium and phosphorus by hormones such as parathyroid hormone and vitamin D.

Now the most abundant question we get to answer is how much calcium your body requires on a daily? The recommended daily allowance for calcium in Men aged 18-70 and Women aged 18-50 is 1000 mg/d and in Women above 50 it increases to 1200 mg/d. Kids aged 9-18 are recommended to take up to 1300 mg/d because of the growth spurt. Normally this intake can be achieved with two servings of dairy products like milk and/or yogurt. But it can be acquired through calcium supplementation as well. Take two tablets of CalciVit Plus daily to fulfil your body requirement.

It is important to note that there are certain phases in life when our body requires increased intake of calcium to function properly. Some of the most important phases are as follows:

  • A child requires adequate calcium stores from the fetal stage (intake of the mother) to adolescence. This is because the body undergoes rapid growth and development during these stages, especially bones and teeth. Inadequate provision of calcium hence causes growth disorders like short stature, rickets and defect teeth enamel.
  • During pregnancy and lactation, the requirements of calcium intake are increased.
  • Females above 50 years of age and Males above 70 usually need increased intake of calcium intake as the bones start to weaken due to diminishing effect of sex hormones on the bones.

    Calcium requirements might also increase during disease and special situations like follows:

    • Diseases where calcium is not absorbed from the gut such as celic disease and other causes of malabsorption.
    • Low vitamin D
    • Patients whose food intake is compromised such as those with, chronic liver and kidney disease.
    • Patients on medication which interfere with calcium deposition in the bone as in case of epilepsy meds.
    • People who work in strenuous routines and sweat a lot without adequate replacement of fluid and electrolytes.
    • Athletes and other people who exercise during which repeated and vigorous muscle contractions warrant increased calcium intake.

    Normal levels of calcium in our blood are maintained with pin point accuracy by the regulatory mechanisms, however in certain circumstances when the daily calcium allowance is not met the body starts to refill the blood levels by extracting calcium from the bones. This is when the bones become brittle and prone to breakage. Low calcium can cause a wide range of symptoms such as tingling sensations in the body, cramps and excessive fatigue on minor exertion. In rare instances where calcium can go dangerously low, the heart rhythm and contraction can also go awry leading to catastrophic scenarios.
    If you have a medical condition as described above, do consult your doctor whether you need supplementation or not. However increased physiological requirements call for more intake of calcium containing food such as dairy( yogurt, milk, cheese), poultry, fruit and dry fruit. However, many a times this requirement cannot be met by diet alone and in such instances supplementation may be required. Calcium is available in different formulations such as calcium carbonate/acetate and in combination with other elements and vitamins such as Zinc, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Vitamin C. The rationale being the synergistic effect of these elements in bone formation/deposition, muscle contraction and nerve conduction. CalcVit is one of the fast absorbing calcium supplements that you must include in your daily routine. Make sure you don’t take these supplements with tea or coffee since these contain chemicals ‘tannins’ which bind calcium and iron preventing absorption!
     About the Author:

    Dr Syed Hunain Riaz is a physician with expertise in managing disorders of the Metabolic and Endocrine Systems. Please click here to book an appointment.
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