What is calcium?
Calcium is an important and the most abundant mineral present in our body. We need it to keep our bone and dental health strong and maintain the healthy functioning of muscles, hormones, and nerves. The daily calcium requirement, as per ICMR, is around 1000-1200 mg of calcium for adults. Some calcium-rich foods are milk, curd, yogurt, cheese, soybean, ragi, lotus stem, green leafy vegetables, nuts, and seeds.
Around 99% of the body's calcium is present in bones, and the rest 1% in muscles, tissues, and blood. Vitamin D helps absorb calcium in the body; hence, maintaining healthy vitamin D levels is essential for optimal calcium levels.
Calcium: Benefits & Uses
Here are some functions of calcium and the reasons why you must always pay attention to this critical nutrient.
- Strong teeth and skeletal health: Calcium is an important component of our bones and teeth. People with low calcium levels are more prone to bone and joint pain and dental issues.
- Minimize osteoporosis risk: Calcium is needed to maintain a strong bone density. Prolonged calcium deficiency means a high risk of osteoporosis in which bones become porous, increasing the risk of fall fractures and injuries.
- Healthy heart: Studies support that calcium helps maintain healthy blood pressure levels. People with adequate calcium intake are less prone to heart diseases.
- Support muscle health: Besides strong bones, calcium also supports healthy muscle contraction. Active people and athletes must maintain optimal calcium levels if the fitness goal is to strengthen and grow new muscles.
- Blood clotting: Calcium plays a vital role in the blood clotting process. It assists in the activation of certain coagulation factors.
- Healthy nerve functions: Calcium helps regulate nerve transmission and the functioning of certain neurotransmitters.
- Support a healthy weight: Although calcium doesn't accelerate weight loss, however, studies suggest that people with optimal calcium levels are less likely to gain weight.
- May reduce kidney stone risk: Adequate calcium levels in the body are associated with a decreased risk of developing renal stones.
- Healthy pH levels: Calcium helps maintain a healthy pH and acidic and alkaline levels. High acidic levels may affect nutrient absorption and cause indigestion.
- Nutrient transport: Our body utilizes calcium to transport essential nutrients like enzymes and hormones, which are crucial for physiological processes.
Calcium supplements are available in various types and forms. Let's discuss different types of calcium.
- Calcium carbonate: It is the most common form among calcium supplements and has been found promising for people with osteoporosis, hypothyroidism, and arthritis. Calcium carbonate supplements also act as antacids.
- Calcium hydroxide: This form is majorly used during manufacturing processes. Food-grade calcium hydroxide is used as a pickling agent to make pickles crunchy.
- Calcium orotate: The calcium orotate form has a high absorption rate in the body and is considered suitable for treating calcium deficiency. It contains calcium bonded with orotic acid.
- Calcium chloride: Calcium chloride form is common in sports drinks as it acts as an electrolyte and helps maintain ideal fluid and electrolyte balance during intense exercise activities.
- Calcium oxide: This form is not used in supplemental form. Calcium oxide is used mainly in manufacturing steel, cement, paper and insecticides.
- Calcium gluconate: This form is commonly used for medicinal purposes to treat low calcium levels during emergencies. Oral calcium gluconate supplements are not a great option as they are less effective than intravenous administration.
- Calcium phosphate: It contains a mix of calcium with phosphorus. Calcium phosphate supplements are suitable for low calcium levels, osteoporosis, and vitamin D deficiency.
- Calcium acetate: Calcium acetate is used to treat high phosphate levels among kidney patients on dialysis. It binds with the phosphate present in food, prevents its absorption and encourages its elimination.
- Calcium citrate: This form is common among dietary supplements and has a better absorption rate. It is available in various forms and is safe for long-term use under medical supervision.
- Calcium lactate: It is popularly used as a food additive to enhance the shelf life of any product. It provides less calcium, so as a supplement, one may need to consume a large amount of calcium lactate to meet daily calcium needs.
How to choose the right calcium for you?
Here are a few tips to consider while buying calcium supplements.
- Oral supplements are available in various forms like calcium tablets, powders or gummies. Choose the form which is easiest for you to consume.
- Prefer calcium types like calcium citrate or calcium carbonate with better absorption rates. However, one can consult a doctor to understand the best suitable.
- Read the label to check the elemental form percentage, indicating the amount of calcium available to the body.
- Check the recommended dosage and usage on the label of the pack. Some calcium supplements are better when taken on an empty stomach, and some are good with meals.
- The supplement should be of a reputed brand, tested for quality and free from unwanted additives.
- One can also opt for calcium supplements containing additional nutrients like vitamin D or magnesium. However, the overall daily intake should not exceed the RDA.
How to use calcium?
- One can take calcium supplements as per the recommended usage. For example, some calcium tablets are better absorbed with meals, while some are on empty stomach.
- One should prefer taking calcium tablets at the same time daily.
- If there is a need to take more than one calcium supplement daily, splitting the doses into smaller amounts throughout the day is advisable to improve absorption.
- It is better to avoid over usage of calcium tablets to avoid health issues like constipation or kidney stones.
Where to buy calcium?
Nutrabay.com is India's most trusted leading online website for the best calcium tablets. Products sold on Nutrabay are 100% authentic as they are sourced either directly from the brands or official importers. We guarantee a hassle-free buying experience online with secure payment options. Check out calcium supplements to feel great daily and build perfectly healthy bones and joints.
Is calcium safe to use?
To enjoy the health benefits, consuming calcium tablets as per the suggested dosage is advisable. Too much calcium intake might result in hypercalcemia and symptoms like renal stones, nausea, constipation, bloating and vomiting.
People with medical conditions, pregnant and lactating women, should take calcium supplements only under medical supervision.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. What are calcium deficiency symptoms?
These are some of the symptoms of calcium deficiency:
- Muscle spasm
- Bone and joint pain
- Brittle nails
- Tingling sensation in hands and feet
- Mental confusion
2. What is calcium normal range?
The normal calcium levels in the blood range from 8.5–10.5 mg/dl for adults.
3. What are the causes of calcium deficiency?
Here are some calcium deficiency causes:
- Inadequate dietary intake
- Hormonal imbalance
- Medications that reduce calcium absorption
4. Are there any side effects of calcium tablets?
Excess calcium tablets or supplements intake might result in symptoms like kidney stones, constipation, bloating and vomiting.
5. How to increase calcium in the body?
One can include calcium foods or supplements in the daily diet to increase or maintain healthy serum calcium levels.
6. Who can take calcium supplements?
Anyone aiming to improve daily calcium intake to maintain healthy levels can consider taking calcium supplements. However, consulting a doctor first is advisable.
7. Can calcium supplements interfere with medications or supplements?
Calcium supplements can interact with certain medications, such as antibiotics and thyroid medications. They can also interfere with the absorption of some minerals, such as iron and zinc.