Calcium is essential for building and maintaining bones and teeth. It is also involved in the proper functioning of the heart muscle, in the transmission of nerve impulses, muscle contractions, coagulation and helps heal wounds.
Calcium is stored in bones. When daily intake is not enough to meet the body's needs, it draws on its reserves which weakens the bones and increases the risk of fractures. Maintaining an adequate calcium intake, starting early in life, maximizes bone mass and helps reduce bone loss provided intake is maintained throughout life.
An adequate intake is particularly important during pregnancy, to prevent or treat osteoporosis and when taking corticoids.
When taken with potassium and magnesium, calcium helps control blood pressure. A diet rich in calcium reduces symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome and slightly reduces the risk of developing colon cancer.
Milk and dairy products are an excellent source of calcium. Milk is also fortified with vitamin D, a nutrient that helps the body use calcium. Calcium-enriched drinks are also available.
Calcium is also found in dark green vegetables (broccoli), sesame seeds, almonds and nuts, canned fish (sardines, salmon, tuna), seafood (clams, oysters), legumes and tofu.
|Approximate Calcium Content|
Oxalate-rich foods such as rhubarb, spinach and beets should be eaten in moderation since they inhibit the absorption of calcium.
In some cases, vitamin D supplements may be necessary to increase calcium absorption.
Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA)
Recommended average daily nutrient intake that is sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements of nearly all (97 to 98%) healthy individuals in each age and gender group. The RDA should only be used as a guide for daily individual intake.
The recommended daily intake, according to the Osteoporosis Canada, is 1200 mg of elementary calcium per day for men 50 years of age and older.
Abnormally low blood calcium can cause dizziness, irritability, tetany, tremors and cardiac arrhythmia. Simple dietary calcium deficiency does not produce any of these symptoms.
Chronic deficiency increases the risk of osteoporosis, osteomalacia, colon cancer and hypertension.
The body stores approximately 1 kg of calcium which is enough for several years. More than 99% of total body calcium is stored in the bones and teeth. If a person did not have any calcium whatsoever in his diet, he would lose 20% of his reserves over 6 years, based on a loss of about 100 mg per day...
Abnormally high blood calcium can lead to loss of appetite, confusion, delirium and coma. Excessive consumption of calcium does not produce any of these symptoms.
Some people may require calcium supplementation even though their calcium intake from food is sufficient.
Taking calcium supplements during pregnancy could help reduce the risk of hypertension and preeclampsia. Women at risk should take at least 1500 mg of elementary calcium per day and even 2000 mg per day. Medical monitoring is recommended.
Caution is recommended for those taking calcium supplements and suffering from kidney stones, dehydration, hypercalcemia, hypophosphatemia, kidney failure or sarcoidosis.
Calcium content varies based on the type of salt used.
|Calcium Content Based on Salt Used|
For example, a 1250 mg calcium carbonate tablet contains 500 mg of elementary calcium.
Carbonate and calcium gluconate should be taken with food, whereas calcium phosphate should, ideally, be taken on an empty stomach.
Watch what you eat. Diet has a significant impact on health!
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The patient information leaflets are provided by Vigilance Santé Inc. This content is for information purposes only and does not in any manner whatsoever replace the opinion or advice of your health care professional. Always consult a health care professional before making a decision about your medication or treatment.