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Calcium Overview

Calcium is the most talked about and most abundant mineral in the human body. Bones and teeth account for about 99% of the adult average of two to three pounds of calcium in the body. Only one percent is found in cells and in the blood stream. However, this, seemingly, small amount is essential for dozens of metabolic processes with the built-in failsafe of being able to pull calcium stores from the bones when blood levels become low. This depletion of bone calcium can occur even at the expense of causing osteoporosis to keep blood and cellular calcium levels within the proper range. That is why calcium supplementation is important.

Beyond bones and teeth, calcium is essential for blood clotting, muscle contraction, nerve transmission, and maintenance of normal blood pressure. Most people are mostly aware of the need for calcium in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. Scientific evidence also suggests that calcium supplements may be helpful in reducing the risk of colon cancer, regulating heart rhythms and treating premenstrual syndrome (PMS) including pain, bloating, mood swings, and food cravings). Other studies show that adequate calcium intake (along with vitamin D) can reduce blood pressure in women with mild hypertension and in black teen-agers (two groups who rarely consume enough calcium). In addition, women who take calcium supplements during pregnancy gave birth to children with healthier blood pressure levels (lower than average for the first seven years of life) - this might reduce the child’s risk of developing high blood pressure later in life. Calcium also plays a role in transmission of nerve impulses and control of muscle contractions; release of chemical messengers for communication between nerves; chemical signaling between cells; regulation of hormone and enzyme production and activity (regulation of digestion, fat metabolism, energy production); hormone secretion; blood clotting; and wound healing.

Dietary Sources: dairy products, vegetables such as broccoli, bok choy and kale. A cup of milk contains about 300mg of calcium. However, pasteurization may bind calcium to protein and make it difficult for the body to absorb.

The Daily Reference Intakes (DRI) recommend the following daily intakes for calcium:
• 1300 mg for ages 9-18
• 1000 mg for adults aged 19-50
• 1200 mg for older adults
• 1500 mg for postmenopausal women not taking hormone replacement therapy

Side Effects from calcium supplements are rare. The Upper Intake Level (UL) for calcium is 2,500mg per day.

(Source: www.supplementwatch.com)

Research Overview

Calcium supplementation was shown to:
1. Decrease post-menopausal bone loss
2. Decrease vertebral and nonvertebral fractures
3. Prevent high blood pressure during pregnancy
4. Prevent preterm labour during pregnancy
5. Reduce risk of colorectal cancer
6. Reduce risk of ovarian cancer
7. Reduce risk of osteoporosis
8. Prevent bone loss following corticosteroid treatment
9. Reduce risk of adenoma recurrence
10. Reduce hip bone loss
11. Reduce risk of hip fracture
12. Reverse hyperparathyroidism
13. Reduce risk of ischemic stroke in women
14. Protect against ischemia-reperfusion injury
15. Reduce risk of third trimester preeclampsia
16. Reduce risk of cardiovascular disease in elderly women
17. Stop bone loss in elderly people
18. Increase bone mineral density in children with cerebral palsy
19. Reduce frequency and duration of migraines when taken with Vitamin D
20. Be an effective treatment for rickets
21. Reduce steroid-induced bone loss in asthmatics
22. Reduce nasal allergic reactions

Calcium Abstracts (141)

Calcium Citations (176)