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Calcium

    Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body, and it plays an integral role in keeping bones and teeth healthy.[1] In fact, 99 percent of the body’s calcium is stored in teeth and bones.[2]

    Calcium is also responsible for numerous physiological processes including nerve transmission, intracellular signaling, and hormonal secretion.[3]

    The most popular calcium-containing foods are dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese.[4] Additional foods high in calcium include white beans, kale, okra, and soy beans.[4] Despite this, research indicates over half of Americans do not get the recommended calcium from their diets.[2]

    To adequately absorb calcium, the body needs a host of vitamins and minerals, including vitamins D and K, magnesium, and phosphorus.[1]

    Regular resistance exercise and calcium consumption preserve bone integrity and minimize calcium loss caused by aging.[2][5] Consequently, calcium fights against osteoporosis, a bone disease which erodes and weakens bones.[1]

    According to experts, calcium also plays a role in blood pressure control and alleviates hypertension, or high blood pressure.[1]

    Additionally, scientists found a link between calcium intake and colorectal cancer. Individuals taking more than 700 mg daily calcium had 35 to 45 percent reduced cancer risk than those taking 500 mg or less daily.[6]

    Ensuring sufficient calcium intake also protects against the following disorders:

    • Hypoparthyroidism
    • Premenstrual Syndrome
    • High Cholesterol[1]

    Calcium is also effective for:

    • Raising Calcium Levels In People Who Have Low Calcium
    • Preventing Low Calcium Levels
    • Reversing High Potassium Levels, When Given Intravenously
    • Use As An Antacid As Calcium Carbonate
    • Reducing Phosphate Levels In People With Kidney Disease[4]

    Additional calcium benefits include maintaining healthy and normal heart rhythms and improving muscle function.[4]

    Calcium is generally safe, but there is the potential for side effects and interactions with medications.[1]

    When dietary calcium exceeds the RDA’s recommended upper limit, health problems such as kidney stones, prostate cancer, constipation and calcium buildup in blood vessels occur.[2][7]

    Exorbitant calcium levels hinder proper iron and zinc absorption. [7]

    The RDA for calcium in males 19-70 is 1,000 mg of calcium daily. It is recommended men older than 71 consume 1200 mg daily.

    Women 19-50 should aim for 1000 mg daily, and women 51 and older should aim for 1200 mg daily.[2]

    • [1] “Calcium” University of Maryland Medical Center, 2011
    • [2] Food and Nutrition Board (FNB), Institute of Medicine (IOM). Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Vitamin D, and Fluoride (1999)
    • [3] Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: “Calcium” Office of Dietary Supplements National Institutes of Health, 2013
    • [4] WebMD. “Calcium”
    • [5] Agnusdei D, Civitelli R, Camporeale A, Parisi G, et. al., Age Age-related decline of bone mass and intestinal calcium absorption in normal males Calcif Tissue Int. 1998 Sep;63(3):197-201
    • [6] Wu K, Willett WC, Fuchs CS, Colditz GA, Giovannucci EL. Calcium intake and risk of colon cancer in women and men. Journal of the National Cancer Institute 2002; 94(6):437–446.
    • [7] Committee to Review Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin D and Calcium, Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2010

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