Calcium is a vital nutrient for the health and proper functioning of our bodies. This mineral is essential for healthy bone development and it helps prevent conditions like osteoporosis. It also plays a part in developing and maintaining healthy teeth, as well as regulating heartbeat. It prevents blood clotting and has an influence on nerve impulses, muscle contractions and hormone secretions.
Since the body utilizes calcium every day, it also loses it (through the nails, hair, sweat, and bodily waste). This lost calcium needs to be replenished.
If it isn’t, the body causes calcium to leach out from the bones, and this, in turn, makes the bones weak. The bones become very brittle and this leads to further bone related health problems. Under such circumstances, even the slightest of injuries can lead to broken bones. Weakened bones will further affect regular day to day activities including walking.
Calcium needs to be replenished through diet and supplements. The best natural sources of calcium include dairy products like milk. Calcium can also be sourced from regular doses of calcium supplements that are commonly available.
Calcium supplements are easily available over the counter. They don’t require prescriptions and come in a range of strengths and varieties. Choosing the one that best suits your body and its needs is crucial. While the common consumption of calcium supplements is in tablet form, if you follow certain dietary restrictions or have trouble with tablets and pill, there are suitable calcium supplements out there, from liquid calcium supplements and natural calcium supplements, to vegetarian calcium supplements, and even vegan diet calcium supplements.
What to consider when choosing calcium supplements
Given the wide variety of options for calcium supplements, how do you choose? Well there are a few factors you must consider before opting for the right calcium supplement. Ignoring these points can lead to severe side effects. These points to consider include:
There is one additional factor to be considered when consuming a calcium supplement. It is best not to take a calcium supplement (particularly a calcium carbonate supplement) on an empty stomach.
- Brand/Label: Opt for a calcium supplement from a recognizable and credible company. Check the brand name and the certification on the case. This assures you of a quality and pure product. It also reduces the chances of an adverse reaction that poor substitutes many cause. Low grade substitutes could cause calcium build up in the body and could potentially lead to calcium toxicity in the body, causing major health problems.
- Quality of absorption: Another crucial factor in choosing calcium supplements is the need to find a calcium supplement with the best ability to get absorbed in the body. If it isn’t absorbed easily, it could result in calcium buildup in the body. There is a simple way to test the absorption capability of different brands. Simply place the calcium supplement in a bowl of warm water for approximately half an hour; if the supplement dissolves properly it will dissolve in your stomach too.
- Check with the doctor: While you don’t need prescriptions, it is best to consult your doctor regarding the appropriate dosage for calcium supplements. Excess calcium can lead to a number of side effects. These include stomach disorders, gas, constipation, kidney stones, nausea and vomiting, seizures, and toxicity. You don’t need to consult the doctor for every refill. Just ensure you are consuming a safe amount.
- Calcium supplement interactions: It is also important to consult your doctor if you are on any other prescription drug. This is because the calcium supplements may react (or interfere) with the other drugs. For example, calcium supplements are known to reduce absorption of tetracycline, an antibiotic. It also has a negative impact of iron absorption.