Calcium is an essential mineral for healthy life. It helps in building strong bones and teeth in children and young adults. Calcium also helps nerves in sending messages and muscles contract.
Vitamin D deficiency has become a worldwide issue in elders and remains general in children and young adults. To overcome this deficiency and its related health problems, maintaining vitamin D levels is necessary.
How much ever calcium you take in your diet it won’t get absorbed if you don’t have sufficient vitamin D levels in your body. Hence both calcium and vitamin D are essential for you.
Having better knowledge about the benefits and sources of calcium and vitamin D helps you to choose the right diet for promoting good health. So here I am providing you some information about calcium and vitamin D.
Calcium plays a vital role in your body. It is essential for the mineralization of your bones and teeth. It also plays a major role in other areas of our health such as weight management and warding off premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
Calcium is lost daily through skin, feces, nails, hair, sweat and urine. This lost calcium is replaced by our body through taking calcium from bones to perform other functions. So, you should get sufficient calcium from your regular diet.
When calcium ions react with carbonate ions in hard water, calcium carbonate is formed. It can be used as calcium supplement or as antacid. Calcium carbonate also helps with intracellular signaling, muscle function, nerve transmission and hormonal secretion.
Elderly patients in particular, should take more calcium supplement to prevent osteoporosis. Calcium carbonate works best if you take it with food.
Sources Of Calcium
Here I am suggesting you some good sources of calcium.
Some biological sources of calcium are
- Oyster shells
- Snail shells
Most seashells are the industrial sources of calcium carbonate.
Dietary sources of calcium carbonate are
Get a sufficient dose of vitamin D (from sun, milk or supplements). The more vitamin D you get the more readily calcium will be absorbed into your bones and blood stream.
Choose a supplement. If your diet does not contain sufficient calcium, you can take calcium supplement. A combination of Calcium with Vitamin D3 supplement is preferred.
Types Of Calcium Supplements
Calcium carbonate and calcium citrate are the two main forms of calcium dietary supplements.
1. Calcium Carbonate
Antacid products such as Rolaids and Tums contain calcium carbonate, and provide about 200-400 mg of calcium. As calcium carbonate relies on stomach acid for absorption, it is absorbed best when taken with food.
2. Calcium Citrate
This is a more expensive form of the supplement. It is absorbed well on an empty or full stomach. People with low levels of stomach acid (a condition that is more common in people over the age of 50) absorb calcium citrate more easily than calcium carbonate.
Health Benefits Of Calcium Carbonate
As I already mentioned, Calcium is essential for strong teeth and bones, particularly in children and young adults for bone and tooth formation.
Calcium absorption is more up to age 20, and then decreases at age around 30 when a draining process begins. In children and young adults, calcium supplements along with vitamin D3 can significantly increase bone mass and it can decrease bone loss during aging.
David Zinczenko, in his book The Abs Diet for Women, Men’s health, says that “It’s about time for dairy to accept a break-out role as a vehicle for weight loss.” Researchers suggest that calcium promotes more fat to be burned and stores less fat, which may reduce the weight gain.
4. PMS Symptoms
The Endocrinologist Dr. Susan Thys-Jacobs, who created the PMS supplement “Premcal” says, “If women don’t intake enough calcium and vitamin D in their regular diet, the hormones that regulate calcium react negatively with progesterone and estrogen and trigger PMS symptoms. Experts recommend a daily intake of 1000mg of calcium and 1000 to 2000 I.U of vitamin D.
Researchers also suggest that sufficient calcium intake may also ward off breast, ovarian and colorectal cancers. However, The National Cancer Institute don’t recommend calcium supplementation as a means to prevent cancer, but it promotes enough calcium intake through your regular diet.
6. Cardiac Health
Adequate calcium intake may also effectively reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and hypertension.
7. Bodily Functions
Calcium also plays a vital role in other bodily functions such as muscular function and nerve transmission. Both heart and blood vessels are innervated by the nervous system. Hence, calcium deficiency may lead to heart problems and high blood pressure.
Calcium carbonate is widely used medicinally as dietary calcium supplement or gastric antacid.
9. Renal Failure
Calcium binds with minerals such as phosphate, and helps in the treatment of chronic renal failure (hyperphosphatemia).
Calcium carbonate helps to reduce diarrhea. This process is by binding water in bowel, creates a stool that is firmer and better formed.
Calcium carbonate is also used as color retainer and food preservative, when used with products such as organic apples. It is also used in tooth paste preparation and acts as acidity regulator, stabilizer or color and anticaking agent.
12. Firming Agent
As a source of dietary calcium, it is used in some almond milk and soy milk products. It is also used as a firming agent in many bottled or canned vegetable products.
Side Effects Of Calcium Carbonate
- Excess amount of calcium for prolonged periods may increase the risk of kidney stones.
- Calcium supplements may change the way your body absorbs medicines and antibiotics such as tetracycline.
- Eating high-fiber foods and drinking more fluids may reduce the side effects of taking excessive calcium.
- Overdose symptoms may include vomiting, decreased appetite, nausea, constipation, confusion, stupor, delirium, coma and frequent urination.
- Pregnant women or breast-feeding women should consult a doctor before starting the supplement.
There is a chance that you are not meeting your daily calcium needs. So here I am giving you some signs and symptoms of calcium deficiency.
- Heart palpitations
- Brittle nails
- Muscle cramps
- Numbness in the arms and legs. If left untreated may lead to osteoporosis.
- Aching joints and increase in fractions.
How To Take Calcium Supplement?
You should increase your calcium supplement dosage slowly. Take 500 mg per day for one week and then slowly increase the dose. This process allows more calcium to get absorbed and reduces the side effects such as constipation, gas and bloating.
Here I am suggesting you about how much calcium you need from your diet or supplements.
- 19 – 50 years: 1,000 mg/day
- 51 – 70 years: Men – 1,000 mg/day | Women – 1,200 mg/day
- 71 years and over – 1,200 mg/day
Vitamin D is essential to absorb calcium in the body. When choosing calcium supplements,look for one that also contain vitamin D.
Functional Foods Consumer Survey, 2013 found many differences between how much nutrients people thought they were getting and how much they were getting actually from their food. Vitamin D showed one of the highest contraventions among other nutritional foods.
So it’s time for you to be aware of Vitamin D, an essential nutrient for life.
Here, I am providing you some information regarding Vitamin D, its benefits and about its deficiency related problems.
What Is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a secosteroid (steroid with a broken ring) responsible for enhancing intestinal absorption of phosphate and calcium.
The most essential compounds in this vitamin D group are vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol).
These compounds can be obtained from regular diet or from supplements and also synthesize in the skin, when exposed to sunlight. Hence it is also called as “Sunshine Vitamin”. These compounds only determine your vitamin D status.
Vitamin D deficiency in your diet causes a disease called rickets (osteomalacia in children). Its symptoms are fragility of the bones, muscle weakness and diffuse body pains. Hence, vitamin D is added to your staple foods such as milk to avoid diseases due to deficiency.
In the liver, ergocalciferol convert to 25-hydroxyergocalciferol and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is converted to calcifediol (or calcidiol or 25-hydroxycholecalciferol). A part of calcidiol is converted by kidneys to calcitriol.
Calcitriol regulates the calcium and phosphate ion concentration and promotes remodeling and healthy growth of bone. It also affects immune and neuromuscular function.
Dietary Sources Of Vitamin D
To obtain sufficient levels of vitamin D, you should have good sun exposure, intake foods with high vitamin D content or else you can choose a vitamin D supplement.
Vitamin D is a naturally available substance, but in very few foods. Mushroom, fish and eggs are the best source of vitamin D. Here I am suggesting you some more dietary sources of sunshine vitamin.
Meat, cheese, cereals, lichen, liver, fortified milk etc. Animal sources are fish liver oils such as cod liver oil, fatty fish species like salmon, catfish, tuna, sardines, etc. are also some sources of vitamin D.
Health Benefits Of Vitamin D
Vitamin D3 supplements may reduce the risk of fractures in elder patients when taken in higher doses. Vitamin D along with calcium supplements may prevent hip fractures. However research studies showed less evidence for vitamin D3 effect on bone density. Hence it is not suggested for osteoporosis.
Vitamin D deficiency is associated with some type of cancers such as breast, colorectal and ovarian cancers. But research studies show poor evidence for vitamin D supplements in cancer patients.
#3. Cardiac Health
Moderate to high doses of vitamin D may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. An additional study published in September 2012 suggested that low levels of vitamin D may increase the risk of heart attack and early death.
An article published in Am J Clin Nutr, concluded that cholecalciferol reduces the inflammatory milieu in congestive heart failure patients and might act as a new anti-inflammatory agent for the future treatment of disease.
#5. Immune System
Cholecalciferol regulates T cells, which are essential for functioning of strong immune system. Hence it acts as an immune system modulator and prevents excessive inflammatory cytokinesis and increase the killing efficiency of macrophages. The vitamin D3 peptides play a major role in protecting lung from infection.
Research study in “The Lancet” proved that dietary vitamin D supplementation is associated with decreased risk of type 1 diabetes. Ensuring sufficient vitamin D supplementation for infants, reverse the increasing trend in the incidence of type 1 diabetes.
#7. Multiple Sclerosis
Vitamin D helps in reducing the risk of multiple sclerosis (MS) in pregnant women. Studies proved that vitamin D supplement reduce the risk of MS up to 40%. A dose of 400 I.U per day, seems to work best.
Adequate levels of vitamin D in regular diet show effects in pregnant women. Low levels are associated with gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia and small infants. Hence pregnant women are recommended to maintain sufficient levels of vitamin D.
#9. Myocardial Infraction
An article published in Arch Intern Med , on Myocardial Infraction concluded that low levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 [25(OH)D3] are associated with increased risk of myocardial infraction even after controlling the factors which are known to cause coronary heart disease.
In most countries vitamin D deficiency is the main cause of rickets among young infants and children. This deficiency leads to soft, weak and deformity of long bones. Hence vitamin D supplements are recommended for the one whose regular diet does not meet adequate levels of cholecalciferol.
Osteomalacia is a disease in adults due to vitamin D deficiency. It reduces calcium absorption and increase calcium loss from bone and increases the risk of bone fractures. So, you should maintain abundant levels of vitamin D in your diet.
Vitamin D3 deficiency has been linked to other conditions such as fibromyalgia, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis, and an increased risk of pre-eclampsia during pregnancy. Hence, maintaining adequate levels of vitamin D level in diet or by supplementation is essential for healthy living.
Vitamin D Toxicity
Vitamin D toxicity is not caused by sunlight exposure, but excess intake of high dose of vitamin D supplements may cause toxicity. Vitamin D toxicity causes hypercalcemia, a condition which is noted with an increase in thirst and urination. This condition is treated by controlling vitamin D supplementation and restricting calcium intake.
So make sure you take the right dosage of both calcium and vitamin D.
Finally coming to the conclusion, in order to overcome your health problems and to live a healthy life you should maintain adequate levels of calcium and vitamin D either through your regular diet or by taking the supplements like Calcium with Vitamin D3 Tablets.
“Make your own recovery the first priority in your life”.
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