Naturally occurring and found in diary products, seaweeds (kelp, wakame, and hijiki), nuts and seeds (sesame and almonds), beans, figs, varied vegetables and eggshell, calcium plays a very important role in human life. Our bodies obtain this vital mineral when we eat these calcium foods. Our bodies require adequate amounts calcium for blood clotting, to build and maintain strong bones, to stimulate hormone secretions, to regulate heartbeat and in conducting nerve impulses; it replaces sodium in depolarizing cells. Positive calcium and heart effect is through cardiac myocyte experiences.
Our bodies cannot make calcium and we have to externally obtain it by eating foods with calcium. We need to continue supplying our body with calcium on a daily basis because our bodies lose it through body secretions including sweat. Some of it is lost through hair, nails and urine. If we fail to supply our bodies with calcium, our bodies turn to the bones, using calcium contained within the bones. This results in weak and fragile bones.
In order to develop and maintain strong and healthy bones, your body needs to receive about 1,000 mg of calcium daily. While it is possible to obtain this amount from foods rich in calcium, you may not have access to the same. In such a case, it becomes necessary to use calcium supplements in order to maintain proper calcium levels. In shopping for calcium supplementation, ensure that you go for those that contain vital compounds (calcium carbonate, phosphate and citrate). Calcium d and calcium phosphate have been found to be effective in dealing with calcium deficiency symptoms. Some of the effective calcium vitamin supplements include Women Extra, Omega Max, Antioxidant Essentials, Womens Total Care and Bone Health Support.
Unlike men, you may require higher calcium levels from both natural source of calcium and supplements, being a woman. This requirement is best analyzed through the stages that you do through in life:
- Premenopause period – You may obtain requisite amounts of calcium through calcium rich food, including calcium milk. This is however interrupted by onset of menstrual flow and pregnancy, which requires that you increase your calcium intake. Your calcium levels definitely decreases with every menstrual flow. You also need to increase intake when pregnant because your growing baby also requires calcium for bone formation and will obtain the same from you.
- Menopause – Menopause period presents you with challenging problems. Apart from drop in estrogen levels, your bones become weak. This makes it necessary to increase the amount of calcium that you consume. Calcium supplementation becomes necessary during this period to enhance the amount that you obtain from food.
- Postmenopause to old age – Entering postmenopause period with inadequate calcium in your system can be dangerous. It is important that you prepare for this period well in advance by maintaining appropriate levels in your system. This period sets in when your bones are already weak and strengthening them before this can be a great relief.
Because how much calcium your body requires at every stage differs, it is very important to regularly pay your health care provider visits to discuss your calcium need. Doing so will ensure that you maintain or increase levels appropriately.
Although necessary and vital to your body in general, calcium side effects are possible. Consuming excess calcium carbonate such as through antacids and dietary supplements for a long time can easily lead to milk-alkali syndrome, which can lead to renal failure. Excess calcium intake through calcium supplements has been found to inhibit the absorption of thyroxin by the body. Taking the supplements along with thyroxin presents the danger of hyperthyroidism.