Though calcium is important to prevent illnesses related to bone density, a high calcium level in the blood should be avoided. Osteoporosis, or bone thinning, is the most common side effect of a low-calcium diet. Calcium is important for bones, teeth, and soft tissues as well as the metabolic process.
The excessive presence of calcium in the blood is called hypercalcemia. This is most commonly caused by the hyperparathyroid glands. Occasionally one of the four parathyroid glands near the thyroid gland will develop into a benign tumor causing hypercalcemia. Hypercalcemia is rarely due to cancer.
A high level of vitamin D intake can also lead to hypercalcemia. However, this is very rare.
Hypercalcemia, due to a defective parathyroid gland, will leave you feeling tired most of the time. You might also lose your ability to concentrate, feel depressed, irritable and forget things easily. Thinning hair, kidney stones, and a decreased sexual drive are also some of the other symptoms, as well as high blood pressure, recurrent headaches and heart palpitations.
The dietary calcium requirements vary depending upon a person’s stage of life. A growing child or adolescent requires more dietary calcium. The same can be said for pregnant and lactating women. Some experts also believe that older people require calcium supplements to prevent osteoporosis. Calcium is found in dairy products, meat, and seafood such as sardines and oysters. Vegetarians can get their daily dose of calcium by including spinach, beet greens, beans, and peanuts in their diet.
Side Effects of Excessive Calcium Intake
Belching, gas, and constipation are some of the most common side effects of taking calcium supplements. The more serious side effects include formation of kidney stones, drowsiness, muscle weakness, nausea, changes in heart rate, frequent urination, and confusion. It is best to consult a doctor in case you have these side effects.