One of the biggest concern amongst elderly people is weaker bones. Earlier doctors recommend higher dose of calcium, but new research indicates
A study published in2007 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that calcium supplements don’t reduce fracture rates in older women, and may even increase the rate of hip fractures.
No Doubt! that we need calcium to build and maintain strong bones and teeth. Calcium is not made by the body, so we have to take it from our diet. Every day, we lose calcium through our skin, nails, hair, sweat, urine, and stool. Factors contributing to bone loss are:
- Age: After 30 years of age, we lose more bone mass than we make it. This leads to bone loss.
- Menopause: Bone loss in women occurs fastest in the first few years after menopause.
- Diet: Too little calcium in the diet. This is a major concern for the Paleo lifestyle people as they exclude juices, Cereals, and dairy from the diet. Calcium is these days added in many ready to eat foods, like breakfast cereals, bread, Dairy products, and juices. Here are little-known food sources of calcium that you can add to your diet.
- Lifestyle: Smoking and not doing exercise
- Medications: medications such as corticosteroids. Corticosteroids are medications prescribed for a wide range of diseases, including arthritis, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, lupus, and other diseases.
- Magnesium and Vitamin D deficiency can be a precursor to later calcium issues, because of this effect on calcium uptake
Side effects of Calcium Supplementation
Calcium as a mineral is very important for the bone health. Other than aiding in strong skeletal structure, calcium is used for regulating:
- Heart rhythms
- Blood pressure
- Cholesterol Levels
- Nerve signaling functions
- Proper blood clotting
- Aids in children development and growth
But it should be consumed from foods and not in the supplemental form. Dietary calcium protects against heart diseases but a calcium supplement is responsible for heart problems.
The study shows:
- 24000 people were tested, who were taking calcium supplements and it was found that by using calcium supplements, they had a 139% greater risk of heart attack.
- Additionally, it is reported a 40% higher risk of death among women with high calcium intakes (1400 mg and above), and a 157% higher risk of death if those women were taking a 500 mg supplement daily, compared to women with moderate daily calcium intakes (600-1000 mg).
For many years medical industry has been pushing calcium supplements to protect against osteoporosis. But seeing these results, this decision as to be reconsidered. The unfortunate part is that before they conclude and reconsider their decision, it will take years. But the fortunate part is, on the internet, there are people like me, who go through reports of these clinical tests and make public aware 🙂
Three possible reasons for calcium tablets causing heart problems and Kidney stones
- Supplements and their bioavailability are two different issues. For example, if you take excess B vitamins, they are excreted in the urine. That’s why your pee is yellow in color and it smells when excess B Vitamins are ingested. Calcium from the foods alone is easily used by the body. But, this is not the case with calcium supplements.
Calcium supplements, on the other hand, cannot all be absorbed by the body. The excess is left circulating in the blood, which can lead to calcification in the arteries, or is excreted in urine, which may lead to kidney stones.
2. You are not taking the right form of calcium. There are many forms and salts of calcium that are not absorbed by the body. Supplements are double edge sword, so they should be taken carefully, even if your doctor prescribes one.
3. Calcium supplements can also create a problem if it is not taken with its cofactors like Vitamin D, Vitamin K2, and Magnesium.
All about Calcium Supplementation
The RDA of calcium is 1000-1200 mg calcium per day, If you are taking around 600-1000 from food alone, it is fine to maintain healthy bones. If you are going in menopause or an elderly, then it is advised, to add extra calcium to your diet.
- How Much: 500 Mg ( Do not exceed more than 500 mg in one go. If your body requires 1000 mg per day, then split it into two doses ). A little dose of calcium like 500 mg would be fine if you cannot ingest dietary
- When: Take with foods
- Salt: Calcium Carbonate or Calcium Citrate.
Very high levels of calcium can cause symptoms including
- Constipation (especially calcium carbonate)
- Dry mouth
- Abdominal pain
- Irregular heartbeat
- Kidney stones.
You must be surprised learning that too less calcium causes irregular heartbeats and too much as well. Heartbeats or heart rhythms are regulated by electrolyte balance in the body. Electrolytes get imbalanced when one of the minerals is not in place. Either too high or too low.
Other important minerals and nutrients are also crucial for bone health
Like so many other nutrients, Calcium needs other vitamins and minerals to be absorbed in the body. Calcium absorption, calcium transportation all are important tasks that the body must do. Without these cofactors, calcium supplements are not bioavailable and may be harmful.
To help maintain healthy bones, adequate amounts of magnesium, zinc, manganese, vitamin D3, and vitamin K2 should be available so that calcium and phosphorus can be incorporated into the bone matrix.
- Vitamin D
2. Magnesium: Here you can read about how to optimize your magnesium levels in the body. Amongst the list of supplements that I take, after vitamin D, magnesium is the most important supplement that I advise my clients because of its role in 300 biochemical processes in the body.
3. Vitamin K
Human clinical data reveals that vitamin K plays a critical role in maintaining healthy bone density by facilitating the transport of calcium from the bloodstream into the bone. You won’t benefit much from Vitamin D if you don’t have Vitamin K2. Vegetables have vitamin K1 only. The body should convert K1 to K2 so that the body can use it for calcium metabolism.
We get K1 from green leafy vegetables and we get K2 from grass fed animal products. It is observed that K1 is not very efficiently converted to K2 in the body, so vegetarians need to supplement with vitamin K2.
K2 is further classified into – MK4 and Mk7
K2 per day: 2000 mcg ( 100 mcg should be minimum MK7 )
If you are already suffering from osteoporosis or for the long term health of your bones, here you can get the full picture.
- Stop your Calcium Tablet: 1000 mg immediately. It can put you at a risk of heart attack.
- For healthy bones take Calcium, Vitamin D, and K2 together.
- Do not aim for more than 500 mg in one go.
- For healthy bones exercise against gravity like yoga, weight training etc.
- Aim to get your calcium from the diet itself. The foods with the highest amount of calcium are Sardines, Whey protein, Raw Milk and the dark green leafy vegetables.