Calcium is the most common mineral in the human body. It is necessary for muscle contraction, lowering blood pressure and regulating heart rate.
When our bodies do not get enough Calcium, they will start to take Calcium from our bones and teeth. Aging also leads to Calcium loss in our bones, which decreases their strength. Most of us get enough calcium from our diet so supplementation is unnecessary. Supplementation should be considered by vegans and those who are lactose intolerant, especially those who are older since they may not get enough calcium in their diets and the ability to absorb calcium decreases with age. Pregnant and lactating women may consider taking Calcium to help prevent high blood pressure.
It should be noted that excessive Calcium is potentially dangerous as it could calcify arteries, leading to increased risk of stroke and heart attack. Therefore, it is necessary to check with your doctor as to whether Calcium supplements are necessary.
Our supplements contain calcium citrate as it is readily digested and absorbed. They also include vitamin D, magnesium, zinc, copper and manganese which play essential roles in bone metabolism.
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milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, peanuts, wheat, soybeans, artificial colours and preservatives
Several studies show that supplementing calcium can reduce the risks of developing pre-eclampsia (serious pregnancy disorder of high blood pressure) and organ damage brought on by pregnancy.
A study on the effects of calcium on blood pressure were conducted on women aged 18-30. The group received 1000 mg of Calcium per day. The results show that daily calcium supplementation is associated with lower blood pressure levels.
In a 1996 double-blind, placebo-controlled study on 189 pregnant women, the rate of pregnancy-induced high blood pressure was 8% in the Calcium group but 29% in the placebo group. The occurrence of preeclampsia (a condition that occurs only during pregnancy, involving high blood pressure and protein in urine) was also lower for those taking Calcium, at 2%, compared to 12% in the control group.
In 2010, a systematic review of 13 high-quality studies covering 15,730 pregnant women was made, twelve out of thirteen suggest that calcium supplementation reduces the risk of hypertension during pregnancy and reduces the risk of preterm birth. It should be noted that most women in these studies already were at low risk for pre-term birth and had a low Calcium diet.
Research Score: Strong
Calcium is one of the building blocks of our bones. Numerous studies have linked calcium supplementation to an increased bone mineral density, especially when paired with Vitamin D. The healthier our bones, the less risk of fracture we have.
In a three year double-blind, placebo-controlled study, over 300 seniors over 65 years took Calcium and Vitamin D. It concluded that total body bone mineral density improved in the Calcium and Vitamin D-taking group, however, it did not significantly affect bone mineral density at the hip and femoral spine in either group. The placebo group also exhibited a higher fracture rate (13%) compared to the treatment group (only 6%).
In another study of 1,765 elderly women, there were 32% fewer non-vertebral fractures and 43% fewer hip fractures in the group who supplemented Vitamin D and Calcium compared to the placebo-taking group. After 18 months, the Vitamin D and Calcium-taking group also experienced a 2.7% increase in bone density, while the placebo group had a 4.6% decrease. However, it should be noted that all these listed studies were done to elderly people, so more examination is needed on the effects of Calcium upon younger people.
In a 2010 systematic review of seven randomised studies on 68,517 participants, it concluded that people using Vitamin D with Calcium had a reduced risk of fracture whereas those supplementing a mere 10 or 20 micrograms of Calcium experienced no significant effects.
Research Score: Very Strong
Acid reflux is the burning sensation in the throat due to stomach acid creeping up. Research shows calcium-based antacids are effective in providing relief to heartburns.
Research Score: Promising
Frequent consumption of large quantities of alcohol prevents the absorption of calcium and the production of Vitamin D, which is essential for Calcium absorption. Those who drink alcohol on a daily basis should consider supplementing Calcium in order to avoid these consequences.
Studies show smoking is harmful to your bones and so it is recommended for smokers to supplement Calcium and Vitamin D if they are not getting enough of these vitamins and minerals in their diets.
Vegans and lactose intolerant people are often be deficient in Calcium because they cannot eat dairy and fish, foods rich in the mineral.
Research Score: Strong
1. Meertens LJE, Scheepers HCJ, Willemse JPMM, Spaanderman MEA, Smits LJM. Should women be advised to use calcium supplements during pregnancy? A decision analysis. Matern Child Nutr. 2018;14(1)
2. Entezari MH. The effect of supplementary calcium on blood pressure in healthy adult women aged 18-30 years in Tehran, Iran. Journal of Education and Health Promotion. 2015;4:67. doi:10.4103/2277-9531.162388.
3. Calcium supplementation during pregnancy for preventing hypertensive disorders and related problems., Hofmeyr GJ, Lawrie TA, Atallah AN, Duley L., The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2010
4. Tai V, Leung W, Grey A, Reid IR, Bolland MJ. Calcium intake and bone mineral density: systematic review and meta-analysis. The BMJ. 2015;351:h4183. doi:10.1136/bmj.h4183.
5. Effect of Calcium and Vitamin D Supplementation on Bone Density in Men and Women 65 Years of Age or Older, Dawson-Hughes B, Harris S, Krall EA, and Dallal, The New England Journal of Medicine, 1997
6. Vitamin D3 and Calcium to Prevent Hip Fractures in Elderly Women, Chapuy MC, Arlot ME, Duboeuf F, Brun J, Crouzet B, Arnaud S, Delmas PD, and Meunier PJ., The New England Journal of Medicine, 1992
7. Rodriguez-stanley S, Ahmed T, Zubaidi S, et al. Calcium carbonate antacids alter esophageal motility in heartburn sufferers. Dig Dis Sci. 2004;49(11-12):1862-7.
8. What People Recovering from Alcoholism Need to Know About Osteoporosis, National Institute of Health, National Institute of Health, 2016
9. Smoking and bone health, National Institutes of Health, Osteoporosis and related bone disease national resource center, 2016