Calcium is one of many vitamins needed for the human body to function, and it makes up a large part of the bones and teeth. Without it, bones and teeth fail to develop properly or may weaken or crack over time, but calcium can be helpful for other functions of the body as well, and calcium supplements can be used for those who need sleep aid supplements. Calcium supplements for osteoporosis are also common, and a person can visit their doctor or pharmacy to get them or may even order calcium supplements online if they need to. Just how can calcium supplements be useful, and what health problems call for using calcium supplements?
Calcium and You
Growing children may need calcium the most so that they can develop healthy bones and teeth. In fact, according to data from the National Institutes of Health, children aged 9-18 will need 1,300 milligrams of calcium every single day, and a number of vegetables and dairy products can provide this calcium in a proper diet. Good diets with a balance of fruits and vegetables, dairy, lean meat and beans, and whole wheat and other grains can provide all the nutrients the body needs, but in some cases, such as with older Americans with health issues or poor diets, calcium supplements may be needed to restore the body’s natural levels of calcium and prevent major health issues.
According to Mayo Clinic, calcium does a lot of good for the body, and someone lacking it should almost certainly look for calcium supplements. Not only do bones and teeth need it, but the heart, muscles, and nerves also need it to function correctly. Along with vitamin D, calcium can help the body with protecting against cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure, but evidence is not yet definitive about this.
Where does calcium come from? As Mayo Clinic explains, the human body does not produce this essential element alone, so it must come from the diet. Most people know that dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt can provide a lot of it, and dark, leafy vegetables such as broccoli and kale can provide it as well, not to mention fish with edible soft bones in them such as sardines. Some foods may be fortified with calcium, such as soy milk, fruit juice, and cereals, along with a number of milk substitutes. Consuming enough vitamin D helps the body absorb the calcium that it needs.
When does a person need to take calcium supplements? Some people, due to self-imposed diets or clinical health restrictions, may not get enough calcium in their diets. Vegans, for example, have narrow diets that forbid dairy products, and dairy will also not be consumed by those who have lactose intolerance. For other people, calcium deficits may arise when the body suffers bowel or digestive diseases that prevent the normal absorption of calcium in the intestines. Celiac disease or inflammatory bowel disease, for example, may cause this.
Someone with one or more such problems with calcium intakes may consult their doctor or a dietician about what to do next, and that health professional may recommend calcium supplements. A person should be careful, however, since it is entirely possible to put too much calcium into the body and suffer adverse health effects. A person who has hypercalcemia, for example, will have excessive calcium in the bloodstream, and this is to be avoided. Otherwise, however, calcium supplements can be very helpful. Carbonate and citrate calcium supplements are the two most common types, and they vary in the amount of calcium provided. A person’s calcium deficit will dictate what type of supplement to take so that they do not have too much in their body. And in some cases, calcium supplements are in fact supplements that contain other essential nutrients such as vitamin D or magnesium. Checking a supplement for these other ingredients is essential if they could cause a health problem to the user. Finally, people who are on current medications or have other health issues should consult their doctor about what supplements to take and when, so that supplements do not mix with those medications with dangerous outcomes.