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.
What is Calcium?
Calcium is a mineral that is naturally found in the earth. It is found in the second group, alkaline earth metals, and the 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.
Health Benefits of Calcium
1) Calcium Works to Treat and Prevent Osteoporosis
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).
2) 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 in Western countries. A decreased risk of colorectal cancer by calcium intake was observed in all subsites in men and women (R, R2).
For total calcium intake, each 300 mg/day increase was associated with an approximately 8% reduced risk of colon cancer (R).
APC/β-catenin pathway malfunction is a common and early event in colon cancer. Calcium supplements have shown to improve the pathway and reduce the risk of cancer (R).
3) Calcium May Lower 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. Low calcium intake may play a role in 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 May Promote Weight Loss
Studies and clinical trials have demonstrated that calcium has weight loss effects and this 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 on fat cell metabolism, indicating an important role for dairy products in the control of obesity (R).
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).
One study suggests that high dietary calcium intake was associated with an 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).