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Calcium is renowned for its multifaceted benefits:
- Prevent bones from breaking easily: Reduces bone loss and decreases the risk of fracturing the vertebrae. (the bones that surround the spinal cord).
- Help keep bones strong: Increases bone density and reduces the risk of fractures later in life.
- Help keep teeth healthy and strong: Prevent tooth decay and loss.
1. Growth Phase: Children and teenagers require ample calcium for optimal bone development.
2. Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: The demand for calcium increases during pregnancy to support fetal bone growth.
3. Postmenopausal Women and Elderly: As bone density naturally decreases with age, adequate calcium intake becomes crucial to prevent osteoporosis.
4. Individuals with Lactose Intolerance or Dairy Allergies: They may have to seek alternative sources of calcium.
5. Osteoporosis and fractures: A condition of brittle bones prone to fractures. It fortifies bone structure, reducing the risk of debilitating breaks.
- Adults: 1000 mg daily, with an additional 200 mg if over 50.
- Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women: 1000 mg per day.
- Teens: 1300 mg per day.
- Elders and postmenopausal women: 1200mg per day.
Calcium supplements come in different forms and doses:
The most common and the least expensive form of calcium. Calcium carbonate supplements contain the highest amount of elemental calcium (about 40% by weight). Because calcium carbonate requires stomach acid for absorption, it's best to take it with a meal. Most people tolerate calcium carbonate well, but some people complain of mild constipation, burping, or feeling bloated. If you’re taking a proton pump inhibitor or H2 blocker, which blocks stomach acid, it may affect the absorption of calcium carbonate.
Calcium citrate supplements are absorbed more easily than calcium carbonate. They can be taken on an empty stomach and are more readily absorbed by people who take acid-reducing heartburn medications. However, because calcium citrate is only 21% calcium, you may need to take more tablets to meet your daily requirement.
Calcium is a cornerstone of overall well-being, particularly for bone health. But if you have osteoporosis, calcium supplements do not replace other osteoporosis treatments such as bisphosphonates (e.g., risedronate [Actonel], alendronate [Fosamax], and raloxifene [Evista].) Consulting a healthcare professional can provide personalized recommendations tailored to your specific needs. Embrace the power of calcium for a stronger, healthier you!