How many of you are taking a calcium supplement? Do you know why or that it goes beyond your bones for nutritional support? Most all of the calcium in your body is stored in your teeth and bones but a little bit is used to help your heart, nerves, and muscles.
The best way to get calcium in is through your diet, however if you should decide you need additional supplementation, remember that it’s best absorbed with magnesium, vitamin D, phosphorous, and vitamin K. Calcium deficiency is common in women who drink caffeine such as soda or have gastrointestinal absorption problems such as in irritable bowel, celiac, or crohn’s disease.
There is some research that found calcium helps lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and stroke risk. It also helps to improve muscle contractibility which includes the heart muscle.
Research came out in 2008 that showed calcium supplementation actually increased heart attacks, however several other researchers and doctors swiftly came to calcium’s defense and more studies are necessary.
Calcium supplements commonly have the citrate or carbonate form. Calcium citrate has less available calcium but it is easily absorbed during the digestion process. Calcium carbonate has more available calcium however few can absorb it because it requires a lot of stomach acid. Make sure you take your supplements in divided doses for better absorption overall.
Should you choose to eat your way full of calcium, go for the dairy family, leafy greens (not iceberg lettuce), almonds, broccoli, sardines, and spinach.
Remember that calcium does more than just protect your bones, it works all over your body to support you.
Bolland MJ et al. Vascular events in older healthy women receiving calcium supplementation: randomised controlled trial. BMJ 2008; 336:262-266.