One cannot stress enough the importance of calcium for optimum bone health. The primary bone builder, calcium,however needs to be taken in certain forms and certain proportions to be best utilized by our body. The mineral calcium is needed most during childhood, a little lesser in quantity at middle age and far more than before as one gets older to make up for the loss of bone density. Understanding how important this mineral is for not only bones but also because of its larger health implications is of concern to many of us.
Optimum Bone Health
There is no denying the fact that for bone health the recommended quantity of calcium through calcium rich foods, suits the body the most. Apart from bones calcium is equally important for controlling heart beat, regulating blood pressure, stimulation of hormone secretions as well as clotting of blood. However, the maximum utilization of calcium is in our bones and teeth and if the body gets less than the 500 mg of the required dosage through food or supplementation , it affects their health.
Just as in the growing years fussy eating and improper diet balancing causes low calcium intake resulting in stunted growth, similarly people above the age of fifty in most countries develop osteoporosis due to the same factor of low calcium in the diet.
Peak bone mass is formed by the age of thirty , and thereafter begins the slow but certain loss of bone density. The process in particular becomes much faster in women reaching menopause. Another matter of concern is the lack of adequate amounts of vitamin D. The source is the sun and at least 20 minutes of sun exposure is necessary to process calcium in our body .
There is a growing concern over cases of melanoma, a skin cancer, particularly seen among children. There are also various other skin conditions such as hyper pigmentation wrinkling and acute sun burn caused doe to vitamin D deficiency . Thus the avoiding of sun exposure too is a reason why calcium even if taken as a part of diet is not absorbed by the body efficiently.
Can Supplements Help?
Modern dietary habits are severely deficient in most vitamins and minerals. Besides there are many who due to digestive incompetence such as lactose intolerance can not benefit from natural sources of calcium such as dairy. In such cases supplementation of calcium is imperative. There can be no doubt that the best manner of calcium is through the natural sources but clinical studies have proved that calcium supplements work as well as natural sources to give you strong bone mass.
How To Optimize Calcium Absorption
Certain aspects to keep in mind while deciding on the supplement are-the type of supplement one chooses, its dosage and the time of taking the supplement .Here are some pointers to help calcium supplements to work best for you:
- *Choose a supplement that is closest to the manner in which calcium occurs in nature. This will not only be cheaper but also be absorbed with ease.
- * One could either opt for a supplement with calcium carbonate which needs to be taken with food for better absorption or calcium citrate which can be absorbed even without food.
- *Do not take more than 500 mg at a go because that is the most the body can absorb . In case you need to take more, break it up into two doses.
- *Try not to take your calcium supplement with any other multivitamin or iron based supplement. It cannot be processed by your body for complete absorption.
- * Consult a doctor in case you are on blood pressure medication or on antibiotics to suit a time for calcium intake. Have calcium two hours before or after the antibiotic.
- *Reduce your intake of caffeine , salt and proteins as it causes loss of calcium through urine.
- *Do get an adequate dosage of at least 400 IU of vitamin D for optimum calcium absorption.
- *Ensure that the ‘elemental calcium’ levels are high in your supplement.
This means that you need to look for basically either calcium carbonate which is its richest natural source, or calcium citrate which has the highest absorb ability.
For any health related supplement program it is necessary to seek medical advise so as to ascertain not only the right dosage but also the best possible way to benefit from it. Calcium remains one of the primary and most significant builders of the body’s bone mass necessary for a healthy and active life. Eat it natural or find the right substitute.