Calcium Supplements Dilemma.

To Take or Not to Take that is the Question…

Adequate calcium intake is essential for maintaing bone health and preventing osteoporosis or bone thinning which can lead to fractures.  Moreover, calcium is also important in overall body metabolism, muscle and nerve functions.

Until recently, healthcare providers would recommended calcium supplementation, especially in older women who are at risk for osteoporosis, without hesitation.  At present, however, there is a debate going on about the topic of calcium supplements because of recent conflicting studies.

One set of studies from 2010 and 2011 showed an increased risk of heart attacks and cardiovascular related deaths with calcium supplementation.  But, more recent research showed no correlation between increased heart attacks and deaths.

Current recommendation of  American Society of Bone and Mineral Research is that most adults of 19 years of age and older require 600-800IUs of vitamin D daily (which aids with calcium absorption) and 1000–1200mg of calcium for maintaining bone health.

So, what one should do?  Granted you had a physical with blood work that screened for nutritional deficiencies such as vitamin D,  had bone density test (women over 50) and all is normal, use common sense regarding  calcium.  Too much of it is not good and neither is too little.  One should aim for adequate intake , however, not exceed recommended intakes.

The best way to get calcium or any other nutrient in the body is through food.  Best sources of calcium in order of higher concentration to less are yogurt, tofu, sesame seeds, sardines, spinach, kale and cheese.  For example, 1 cup of yogurt contains almost 50% ,  1 cup of cooked spinach almost 25% and 3.2 ounces of sardines 35% of recommended daily value for calcium .  Bottom line, having a varied diet consisting of nutrient dense foods is the best way to feed calcium to your body.


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