As you start growing old, getting adequate amount of calcium and vitamin D is necessary for the strength and good health of your bones.  The information given hereunder may help in learning all about Vitamin D and Calcium – the two nutritional elements for maintaining the health of your bones and preventing the onslaught of osteoporosis.

What is Calcium and how does it work?

A diet containing rich calcium elements, such as dairy, fish, leafy green vegetables and nuts, helps in building and protecting your bones and preventing osteoporosis.

Calcium, in fact, is a mineral, which is required for sustaining life. Apart from building bones and maintaining them healthy, Calcium also helps in muscle contractions, sending messages, nerves and blood clots. Nearly 99% of body calcium is used up by the bones and teeth. We have a tendency of losing calcium via feces, urine, sweat, hair, nails and skin every day and our bodies do not and cannot generate new calcium.

That is the reason for advocating use of calcium-rich diet. In case we do not get adequate calcium from the diet in our body, it is used up from our bones, making them weak.

Several Americans do not get the required quantity of calcium in their daily diet and the deficiency leads to their bone loss, lesser bone density and their bones begin breaking.

What is the required quantity of calcium every day?

Depending your sex, age, the daily requirement of calcium, inclusive of the amount of foods and supplements, is listed below in a table:

Aged 50 and even younger 1,000 mg every day
Aged 51 and above 1,200 mg every day
Aged 70 and even younger 1,000 mg every day
Aged 71 and even older 1,200 mg every day

How Much Calcium Do You Need?

International Osteoporosis Foundation has framed the required Calcium Calculator  to educate you based on your age and gender.

Sources of Calcium

Food sources of Calcium-Rich diet

Your diet (food) is the finest source calcium to the body. Dairy items, like milk with low level or no fat, cheese and yogurt are calcium rich.  Some other foods and leafy green vegetables have also calcium in small quantity. Many juices, soy milk, breads, bottled water, breakfast items, snacks, cereals contain added calcium. When you drink any liquid or soy milk, which is energized with calcium, ensure that it is well swayed so that the calcium does not stay at the bottom.

An easy way of adding calcium to several food items is to mix a tablespoon of fat-free powdered milk, which has nearly 50 mg of calcium. In several food recipes, more than one tablespoon of powdered milk is allowed to be mixed.

How to read Food Labels & Calcium quantity?

For ascertaining the calcium quantity in a particular food, verify it with the nutritional value panel of the label for the Calcium daily value (DV).   The food labels display the percentage of the Daily Value of Calcium.. This daily value is indicated on the basis of a Calcium requirement of 1,000 mg every day. For instance:

Daily Value Equal to Calcium Amount
30 percent DV of Calcium = 300 mg of Calcium
20 percent DV of calcium = 200 mg of Calcium
15 percent DV of calcium = 150 mg of Calcium

Calcium Supplements

The calcium quantity you require from a supplement is based on the calcium quantity you usually receive from your diet. Your objective should be receiving the suggested amount of Calcium to you by a medical practitioner from food rather than supplements.  Supplements are for making up any deficit amount of calcium. In case you receive adequate amounts of calcium from food, then you do not require a supplement. Actually, you get no extra benefit by using extra calcium than your requirement and if you do so, there are a number of risks involved.

Generally, you should be avoiding   the use of supplements, which are not required. A wide range of calcium supplements, some chewable and others in a liquid form, of different quantity are available in the market that can be purchased without showing a prescription. A supplement that fulfills your requirement, based on its cost, availability and convenience. While selecting the finest supplement that can fulfill your requirement, bear in mind the following:

Select a branded supplement that has established reliability. Search for labels that pronounce “purified” or display a USP symbol.  The USP in the US symbols stands for United States Pharmacopeia. The significance of the USP label means that the supplemented has been duly verified and contains the calcium for meeting some standards of quality and purity.

Carefully read the item label for ascertaining the quantity of elemental calcium, which is the real calcium quantity in the supplement.  The label also specifies the number of pills or doses of the product to take.  When evaluating the label, attentively read the serving size as well as “quantity of calcium per serving”.

Calcium finally gets absorbed in the body if taken lesser quantity, i.e. 500 mg – 600 mg or even lesser amount. This happens in both eating food that is calcium-rich or taking supplements. Try eating calcium-rich diet or supplements in smaller quantity all through the day.

The Indian social activist, Rajiv Dixit, advocates the use of limestone (Chuna) of a wheat grain size daily as a supplement for fulfilling the calcium deficiency.

The calcium supplements should be taken along with your food. Eating foodstuff generates acid in your stomach, which helps the body in well absorbing the calcium supplements. Calcium Citrate gets well absorbed in both the cases – without food and with food.

As you begin taking a calcium supplement, begin with a smaller quantity that helps in tolerating it in the best manner. Begin taking a supplement in 200-300 mg of quantity each day with extra amount of water for about a week every day for a week. Then slowly and steadily increase the quantity every week.

You may experience gas and constipation, which are calcium’s side effects. In combating the side effects, increased amount of fluid in your diet may help.  If the side effects persist, try any other brand or type of calcium. Trial and error is the best option and there are plenty of calcium supplements.

Do consult your healthcare doctor for more information.

CategoryCalcium, Infertility, IVF
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