A major side effect of taking calcium supplements, according to science
Some people may benefit from taking a daily calcium supplement more than others, however, some experts argue that it is not even worth it, especially since research indicates that ingesting calcium at this level may increase your risk of developing heart complications. Yet, it’s obvious that Americans often don’t get enough calcium from their diet alone.
According to current USDA dietary guidelines, calcium is one of the four food components of public health concern for the general population of the United States. As is the case with potassium, dietary fiber, and vitamin D, calcium is an often under-consumed nutrient, which can increase the risk of several associated health problems, namely osteoporosis. In reality, almost 30% of men and 60% of women over 19 do not get enough calcium on a regular basis.
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Getting adequate levels of calcium through the diet is especially important for adults aged 19 to 30, as bone mass continues to actively build up during this time of life. It is also imperative that postmenopausal women adhere to the recommended daily intake of calcium to help prevent bone loss. When a woman goes through menopause, her estrogen levels drop, which can lead to a drop in her bone mineral density.
For reference, a woman aged 19 to 50 needs about 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day, while a woman aged 51 and over needs almost 1,200 milligrams per day. For a man, it is recommended that people 19 years of age and older consume about 1000 milligrams of the mineral each day. However, a supplement may not be the best solution. Some experts argue that the body may not absorb calcium from a pill as effectively as when it is consumed from foods high in calcium.
Another concern? Ingesting too much calcium through a supplement can also put you at risk for major heart problems. In a Johns Hopkins Medicine article, Erin Michos, MD, MHS, associate director of preventive cardiology for the university’s Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease, said she was concerned that calcium supplements could contribute to heart attacks and heart disease. She explained that the body cannot process more than 500 milligrams of calcium at a time, which means any excess mineral could get deposited in the walls of the arteries, or even trigger a blood clot.
Depending on the dosage, calcium supplements can contain between 400 and 1000 milligrams of the mineral. Antacids like Tums and Rolaids can also increase your calcium intake, as each pill or chew provides 200 to 300 milligrams of calcium. In addition to potential heart problems, other problems with excessive calcium intake include constipation, kidney stones, and even cognitive issues, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
At the end of the line, if you plan to take calcium supplements, make sure you do not exceed 500 milligrams per dose. However, the supply of calcium through food choices should be the top priority!
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