642x361_IMAGE_1_8_Fast_Facts_About_Calcium

Calcium 101

Calcium is also found in many foods and has been known to help the human body grow and maintain strong bones, keep healthy contact within the nervous system, as well as have other health benefits. Learn more about this mineral by reading below.

Introduction 

642x361_IMAGE_1_8_Fast_Facts_About_Calcium

Calcium is a mineral that is naturally found in the earth.  It is found in the second group, alkaline earth metals, and second period of the periodic table. It is considered a metal, and therefore can be found as a positive ion. These ions within the body are necessary to get signals to-and-from the brain.

In addition, calcium is the main component of hair, nails, and bones. If you have a calcium deficiency and certain calcium-rich foods such as milk, cheese, yogurt, beans, nuts, spinach, or broccoli are not enough, then doctors may suggest taking some supplements.

The Calcium That I Recommend

Health Benefits of Calcium

1) Calcium Works to Treat and Prevent Osteoporosis

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Calcium increases bone density and helps to maintain strong bone health (R).

It also increases the Bone Mass Density (BMD) in men and postmenopausal women, and also reduces the prevalence of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women (R).

In rats, high amounts increased bone strength, bone mass, and bone material properties (R).

Dietary or supplemental calcium increase BMD by ≤ 1.8% in persons > 50 years of age (R).

About 80% of patients with osteoporotic fracture had calcium and vitamin D intake below the recommended dietary intake. Low intake was associated with no family history of osteoporosis and older age. Dietary intake showed a positive effect on BMD (R).

Greater milk intake was associated with a lower bone turnover as well as higher BMD (R).

3) Calcium Can Reduce the Risk of Colon Cancer

In a study done in Korea, calcium consumption showed it was inversely related to colon cancer risk, where the Korean national average calcium intake level is relatively lower than Western countries. A decreased risk of colorectal cancer by calcium intake was observed in all subsites in men and women (R, R2).

Although many people believe it can reduce the risk of lung, breast, or other cancers there isn’t enough conclusive evidence to support this fact pre or post diagnosis (R,R2).

For total calcium intake, each 300 mg/day increase was associated with an approximately 8% reduced risk of CRC (R).

APC/β-catenin pathway malfunction is a common and early event in colon cancer. However, supplements have shown to improve the pathway and reduce the risk of cancer (R).

4) Calcium Can Treat Hypertension

Blood Pressure

In a survey of over 14,000 obese adults age 20 years or older, there was a clear inverse correlation between calcium intake and high blood pressure. This showed to be especially true for women (R).

An increase in calcium intake slightly reduces both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, particularly in young people, suggesting a role in the prevention of hypertension (R).

Higher intake lowered the probability of someone having high blood pressure (R).

Preeclampsia is a multisystem disorder associated with high maternal and fetus death. Calcium is an ion which may have roles to play in the manifestations of the disease. Supplementation can help improve the metabolism of calcium in women with preeclampsia (R).

Researchers agree further studies should be conducted to test the viability of calcium treatment.

4) Calcium Can Promote Weight Loss

Weight loss studies performed in low calcium consumers in whom supplementation helped lose body weight and fat loss. Laboratory studies and clinical trials have demonstrated that this effect may be explained by an increase in fat oxidation and fecal loss as well as a facilitation of appetite control (R).

High dairy diets have proven to increase weight loss and lean mass in subjects with the same exercise regimen (R).

Diets that include greater or equal to 3 daily servings of dairy products result in significant reductions in fat tissue mass in obese humans, even without dietary restrictions (R).

Dairy sources of calcium exert a significantly greater anti-obesity effect than supplemental sources in each of these studies. This is possibly due to the effects of other bioactive compounds, such as the angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor found in milk, on adipocyte metabolism, indicating an important role for dairy products in the control of obesity (R).

Overall, there is consistent evidence that calcium and vitamin D increase whole body fat oxidation after single and multiple meals. It increased fat excretion and decreased hunger as well (R).

5) Calcium Can Benefit the Brain

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One study identified that calcium signaling plays a central role in hippocampus-dependent human memory processes, which means that boosted calcium levels can help fight against diseases that affect memory such as Alzheimer’s disease (R).

Hippocampal activation and the risk for sporadic Alzheimer’s disease were also significantly enriched for genes related to the elevation of cytosolic calcium (R).

Also, dysregulation of calcium ion channels results in Alzheimer’s disease (R).

6) Calcium Prevents Stunting in Young Children

In some studies, researchers have found that inadequate calcium intake from milk after weaning can result in the stunting of growth in children ages 2 to 5 (R).

Increased intake of calcium can help children grow (R).

Technical

  • Also, the group with lower than the daily amount showed severe bone degeneration compared to the control (daily amount) group, due to diminishing bone strength (-19.7% for failure load), bone architecture (-58% for BV/TV) and peak bone mass accrual (-29% for BMD) due to the hormonal disruption implied in Calcium metabolism (R).
  • The higher than adequate Ca intake resulted in improved peak bone strength (106 vs. 184N/mm for the stiffness and 61 vs. 89N for the failure load) and bone material properties (467 vs. 514 mPa for tissue hardness) resulting in improved bone strength (R).
  • However, the overall prevalence of stunting was 36.9% (CI 29.2, 44.6) and increased with age, being 49% in the 4- to 5-y-old age category (R).
  • Systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure decreased if calcium intake increased (SBP: regression coefficient estimate=-0.015, P<0.0001; DBP: regression coefficient estimate=-0.028, P<0.0001) (R).
  • The effect on systolic blood pressure was 0.08 mmHg (95% CI -2.16 to 2.32) with doses less than 1000 mg, -1.14 mmHg (95% CI -2.01 to -0.27) with 1000 – 1500 mg, and -2.79 mmHg (95% CI -4.71 to -0.86) with more than 1500 mg. Also, the effect on diastolic blood pressure was -0.54 mmHg (95% CI -2.23 to 1.15), -0.71 mmHg (95% CI -1.37 to -0.06) and -1.43 mmHg (95% CI -2.22 to -0.64) respectively (R).

Sources

  • Dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt) (R)
  • Vegetables (R)
  • Grains (R)
  • Legumes (R)
  • Meat (R)
  • Supplements

Dosage

If you’re thinking about taking calcium supplements, I recommend 1000-1300 mg a day in the long term. This includes calcium from dairy products, but a slight excess has shown no evidence to cause harm (R).

Calcium is absorbed better in the body and less likely to cause calcification in the kidneys when taken with vitamin D, which is why most supplements come with vitamin D (R).

Caution

On study suggests that the high dietary calcium intake was associated with the increased prevalence of Metabolic Syndrome in obese males. Additional studies are required to determine whether dietary calcium intake affects the development of Metabolic Syndrome (R).

Some studies showed a significant relationship between the total calcium intake and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease mortality (R).

Other side effects include constipation, diarrhea, and abdominal pain (R).

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