Be careful when taking supplements so you can avoid a calcium overdose. If you think that more is better, think again, particularly when it comes to vitamin and mineral supplements. Following some simple guidelines will help you get the calcium your body needs without the danger of overdoing it.
What is Calcium?
Calcium is a mineral that is stored in the bones. It is the most plentiful mineral found in the human body. Calcium can come in the form of supplements or naturally occurring in food items.
Why Do I Need Calcium?
Calcium is essential to building strong bones and teeth. Women particularly need calcium to prevent osteoporosis. Calcium is also vital to the contraction of your muscles, promoting a regular heartbeat and it also ensures proper blood clotting.
There is no question that calcium in necessary for all growing bodies and for sustaining good health. The question is how much is enough and how much is too much.
How Much is Enough?
According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, the recommended daily amount (RDA) of calcium needed for an average woman from age 19 to 50 years old is 1000 milligrams per day. For women over 50 years old, the recommended daily amount increases to 1200 milligrams per day to account for the naturally occurring bone loss many women experience. These are average amounts and can vary under certain circumstances.
The recommended daily allowances are different for infants and children; however, are the same for men. The numbers also stay the same for pregnant and lactating women.
How to Get Enough Calcium
It’s not difficult to ensure you are getting the appropriate amount of calcium absorption for your body. Eating the right amount of calcium fortified foods and taking a multi-vitamin is usually adequate.
The foods containing the healthiest amount of calcium are varied and diverse so it’s not hard to meet the minimum requirements. Some of those with the highest calcium content are:
- Milk Products
- Ice Cream
- Some Seafood, such as Canned Pink Salmon and Sardines
- Green, Leafy Vegetables, etc.
- Calcium-fortified Orange Juice
There are unhealthy habits that will affect the proper absorption of calcium, so avoid smoking, excessive caffeine, alcohol and carbonated drinks.
How Much is Too Much?
The bigger problem would be inadequate calcium intake; however, there are occasions when excessive calcium is an issue. It’s important to be aware of your diet and supplemental intake to avoid this scenario.
Ingesting 2500 milligrams or more of calcium per day would be too much, and the excess would cause health issues that are uncomfortable and can be dangerous. An excessive amount of calcium in the body is called hypercalcemia. This condition can impair kidney function; sometimes even cause kidney stones. Hypercalcemia can cause constipation and reduces the absorption of other important minerals.
The bottom line is to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle and pay attention to the calcium content you are ingesting. Follow your doctors suggestions regarding any supplements you need.