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As one of the most prevalent minerals in the human body, found in many different foods, used as an additive, and often used as a dietary and nutritional supplement, Calcium is an extremely important part of our everyday lives.
Calcium is vital to our good health and fitness. Calcium is vital to the growth of our bones, to the growth and development of muscle function, to develop nerves and the accompanying transmissions, and to the function of our brains.
Calcium is found in many forms, and the majority of calcium in our bodies is stored in the bones. A very small amount is used to help with the aforementioned functions, and this amount does not ever change no matter how much or how little calcium we add to our bodies.
The amount of calcium in our bones does depend on what we eat, drink and take as far as nutritional supplements are concerned.
As with any dietary or nutritional supplement, it is best to consult with a medical professional before increasing, decreasing, adding or changing the amount of calcium that you are taking – no matter whether the source is from food, drink, or a supplement.
The most common sources of calcium can be found in everyday dairy products such as cheese, milk and yogurt. These foods are the primary source of calcium intake by individuals in the United States, and contain large amount of calcium that our bodies take and process to help our overall health and fitness.
There are several other foods that contain high levels of calcium. Some of these include everyday green vegetables, including broccoli and kale, as well as spinach.
A common misconception is that certain grains contain high amounts of calcium, but this is not the case unless the grains are fortified. However, even unfortified grains can supply some calcium to the body because they are usually ingested in large amounts by individuals, so there is an accompanying large total amount of calcium brought into the body.
In addition, certain drinks also have some calcium in them, including many different types of natural fruit juices, certain cereals as well as tofu. Individuals taking a calcium supplement should be aware of their diet to ensure there is not an over abundance of calcium being taken every day.
There are primarily two different kinds of calcium available in nutritional supplements. They are known as either calcium carbonate or calcium citrate. While both are readily available, traditional calcium carbonate is more common and is often much less expensive than calcium citrate.
It is important to note that calcium carbonate does rely on the acids produced by the stomach in order to be completely digested. It is important that calcium carbonate be taken with food to prevent an upset stomach. Calcium citrate, on the other hand, can be taken either with or without food.
Depending on the manufacturer and the type of supplement, different calcium supplements will always contain different amounts of calcium. As an example of the differences, calcium carbonate is approximately 40% calcium by the weight, while calcium citrate is only half that amount by weight.
Calcium is always listed in the panel that contains the supplemental facts, so you never need to calculate the total calcium that is supplied by a specific supplement.
The total amount of calcium absorbed by the body all depends on the amount of calcium that has been consumed at one time. When the amount of calcium you consume increases, the percentage of the amount your body actually absorbs decreases. It is important to speak to a doctor or nutritionist about your individual needs and not just rely on general information.
Fortunately, if an individual does not consume enough calcium, there are no direct, short term side effects. However, a long term neglect of your calcium intake can cause problems. These include the risk of bones either breaking or fracturing, and the more common osteoporosis. In addition, rickets has been known to be a result of long term calcium deficiency.
As far as side effects from taking calcium supplements, there are several. These include excess gas, constipation, unusual bloating, or all of these combined. It is common that these side effects would occur more in an individual who is taking calcium carbonate rather than calcium citrate.
However, many of these side effects can be limited if the calcium supplement is always taken with a meal or spread out throughout the day instead of at one time.
A healthy adult should consume anywhere between 1000 mg and 1300 mg per day of calcium. Older women should take more calcium than their male counterparts due to bone weakness that results from aging.
Children can also take calcium, beginning with 200 mg as an infant and up to 1,300 mg as a teenager. Of course, these amounts all depend on the individual and should be determined in conjunction with a physician or dietician.
Calcium Silicate and the FDA
The FDA has approved calcium as a supplement that reduces the risk of osteoporosis. Looking for the perfect supplement for your workout? Use the supplement finder below!