Many important bodily functions require certain minerals in order to operate correctly. Yet minerals, unlike vitamins, cannot be produced by our bodies. Therefore, adequate consumption of minerals is very important for your health.
At the same time, you cannot simply load up on these nutrients. Every mineral is required by your body in a specific amount. This precise amount depends on many factors including diet, mineral content of the oil in which your food is grown, medications, health, and the interaction of the mineral with other substances.
Minerals are divided into two groups: macro (or major) and micro (or minor). Macrominerals are required by your body in relatively high quantities. Generally, people need more than 200 milligrams of these nutrients a day. Calcium, chloride, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and sodium are all macrominerals.
Microminerals, on the other hand, are required by your body in trace amounts. Generally, people need less than 200 milligrams of these nutrients a day. Arsenic, boron, chromium, cobalt, copper, fluoride, iodine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, selenium, silicon, tin, vanadium, and zinc are microminerals.
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in your body, and an essential component of a healthy diet. It is important that everyone, regardless of age, consumes proper amounts of calcium, but most doctors advise people to increase their intake as they get older. However, your body can only absorb about 500 milligrams of calcium at a time, so your daily intake should be divided into separate doses.
The average American diet includes many foods that, once eaten, create acid in your body. If you eat a majority of acidic foods and not enough alkaline foods, your body has to find alkalizing minerals elsewhere to neutralize its PH levels. It often has to resort to suing the calcium and protein in your bones. As a result, your bones can become weakened, possibly irrevocably, and your bodily systems can age at an accelerated pace, resulting in a slew of related problems. The following foods create particularly high acidity levels in your body.
• Chocolate, dairy products, such as butter, cheese, ice cream, milk and yogurt, drinks such as beer, black tea, coffee, and soft drinks, fish, such as haddock, fruit, such as blueberries, cranberries, and dried fruit, grains, such as barley, oats, rice, wheat, and white bread, honey, meat products, such as beef, chicken, ham, turkey, and veal, nuts, such as peanuts and walnuts, processed soybeans, sugar, vegetables, such as corn and white vinegar.
Functions of Calcium in your body
• Activates numerous enzymes
• Helps cholesterol make sex hormones
• Needed for the absorption of vitamin B12
• Plays a crucial role in nerve impulse transmission
• Regulates iron transport in your cells
• Required (along with vitamin K) for blood to clot
• Used by muscles in energy production
• Vital for development of bones and teeth
Symptoms of Calcium Deficiency (Hypocalcemla)
• Hypertension (high blood pressure)
• Muscle spasms and twitching
• Osteoporosis (bone loss)
Symptoms of Calcium Toxicity (Hypercalcemia)
Since the body is limited in its ability to absorb calcium, there are few short-term effects (namely, constipation and kidney stones) of ingesting too much. However, long-term consumption of too much calcium can result in hypercalcemia – high levels of calcium in the blood. Additionally, combining excess calcium with excess vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium, can be very dangerous. There are also several diseases, such as certain cancers, that can cause calcium toxicity. Blocked uptake of manganese, clogged arteries (which can predispose you to heart disease, constipation, decreased iron absorption, decreased magnesium absorption, decreased vitamin K production, decreased zinc absorption, kidney stones, and problems with your thyroid hormones.
Your body can only absorb 500 milligrams of calcium at a time. Therefore, to fully utilize your ingestion of calcium, the following suggestions for daily calcium consumption should be split into dosages. These amounts refer to your entire calcium intake, including what you eat and the supplements you take.
• Adults: 800 milligrams daily
• Menopausal women: 1,600 milligrams daily
• Premenopausal women: 1,000 milligrams daily
• Pregnant or lactating women: 1,200 milligrams daily
Diseases/disorders that can be treated with calcium – colon cancer, elevated triglycerides, high blood pressure, increased cholesterol, leg cramps, osteoporosis, preeclampsia, and premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
Side effects and contraindications
• Decreases absorption of ciprofloxacin and most fluoroquinolone antibiotics
• Decreases aluminum absorption
• Increases the toxicity of digoxin
• Inhibits absorption of tetracycline
• Interferes with the absorption of thyroid medication
• May interfere with the absorption of magnesium, zinc, iron, manganese, and phosphorus
Other important factors
• Always use only pharmaceutical-grade supplements. Lower-grade products may be contaminated with lead, mercury, arsenic, aluminum, or cadmium.
• Calcium carbonate is not a good form of calcium because most of its calcium is not bioavailable.
• Calcium citrate and hydroxyapatite are both good sources of calcium. Bioavailability of calcium citrate is 2.5 times that of calcium carbonate.
• Milk is not the best source of calcium because pasteurization destroys up to 32 percent of its available calcium.
• Tums (antacids) are not a good source of calcium because the calcium they contain is poorly absorbed by the body.
• Vitamin C increases calcium absorption by 100 percent.
A double-blind, placebo-controlled USANA study assessed the impact of USANA Vitamins Body Rox Active Calcium Chewable on bone development and bone mineralization in 81 preadolescent girls. After 12 months of supplementation, girls receiving Active Calcium Chewable showed a net gain (1.41 percent) in bone mineral density, while girls in the placebo group showed a net decline (-0.94 percent). Gains in bone mineral content were also greater in the active treatment group than in the placebo group (5.83 percent versus 0.69 percent respectively).