To prevent your body from a nutrient deficiency you need supplements. In fact, for a healthy body, you need some supplements as some nutrients are very hard to get from the food that you take in. If you are having some chronic disease then it becomes necessary to take supplements along with your food to increase the particular insufficient nutrient in your body.
That said, some supplements people commonly take are really unnecessary, and sometimes they have hidden dangers. Calcium supplements are the best example of this.
Do you really need calcium supplements?
Many aging men and women take calcium supplements hoping that it will increase their bone health and prevent fractures. Many believe that calcium supplements prevent osteoporosis.
You must have seen many calcium supplements on TV and magazine advertisements targeting this worried aged population. These ads suggest better bone health and claim preventing osteoporosis. Among women, Osteoporosis at least 10% of them have a serious concern about osteoporosis. But,
- There is no strong evidence that calcium supplements increase bone health and strengthens the teeth and the new researches in the recent past proves this.
- A recent analysis in 2012 claims that intaking a higher amount of calcium more than recommended diet guidelines, provides no benefit in lumbar vertebral bone and hip in older adults.
- An American Journal published study in 2007, found that intaking of calcium supplements does not reduce fracture rates in postmenopausal women. The study claims more that calcium supplements may even increase hip fracture rates.
- Intaking Calcium Supplements is really safe? Apart from ineffective in bone health, calcium supplements may increase serious health risks like cardiovascular diseases, kidney stones, and calcification of arteries.
Heart Disease Risk
Cardiovascular studies prove that supplemental calcium increases heart disease risks and only the dietary intake of calcium protects your heart against heart diseases.
A British Medical Journal (BMJ) published study conducted in 2012 with 24,000 middle to aged people found that people who intake calcium supplements had increased heart disease risks by 139% for the study period of 11 years. Also, the study found that the risk was less among people who intake only calcium-rich food like vegetables, fruits, and dairy products.
Another BMJ published meta-analysis study of 12000 people found these risks:
- Calcium supplements increase Heart attack by 31%.
- Calcium supplements increase the risk of stroke by 20%
- Calcium supplements increase the risk of Death by 9% (By all causes)
An analysis involving 12,000 men published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that intakes of over 1,000 mg of supplemental calcium increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases heart attack and calcification of arteries by 20%. This claim was made by a JAMA Internal Medicine study involving 12000 people.
Many researchers suspect, the main reason for the calcification of arteries is the increased amount of calcium in the blood due to the intake of a large amount of calcium through calcium supplements. This is not the case with calcium obtained by the intake of food that is rich with calcium because of slower absorption and small in quantity compared to supplements. The calcium from food digest easily and get absorbed by the body fully.
The researchers are also suspect that the extra amount of calcium intake which is more than one’s daily required amount is unnecessary and the bones don’t absorb them. The extra amount of calcium is sent to the kidneys and this increases the risk of kidney stones.
Another study of risks with extra calcium in the blood found that it increases the risk of prostate cancer and also increases the risk of kidney diseases like kidney stones.
Lab analysis by a consumer lab found that calcium supplements of many brands failed quality tests for lead contamination and the brands have mislabeled contents.
To avoid the risks of calcium supplements, it is suggested to intake other forms of calcium mainly through your diet.
Many foods that we consume daily have some forms of calcium, you must identify the foods that have more calcium in them and include those in your daily food.
The best way to get your daily calcium requirement is by eating foods like:
- Dairy products
- Fishes like sardines and salmons.
- Dark Green Leafy Vegetables
- Poppy Seeds
- Sesame Seeds
If you are still not getting enough calcium through your food, you can try another form of calcium such as whole bone calcium which is natural, and apart from the calcium it also contains collagen and trace minerals.
It is a good option because the body absorbs this whole bone calcium like your food, so the risks are not involved here. People who cannot get enough calcium through food can surely try whole bone calcium as a supplement.
Healthy bones require not only calcium but also vitamins like Vitamin D and Vitamin K2. The vitamins regulate your calcium metabolism. Silica and Magnesium are also required for better bone health. If your intake enough of these nutrients and perform regular weight-bearing exercises, you don’t need calcium supplements.
Yes, calcium supplements help people who are suffering from severe osteoporosis and people who suffer heady calcium deficiency.
Since some researches and analysis claim an increased risk of heart diseases due to calcium supplements, you must be very careful with your intake of calcium supplements and the amount of calcium that you intake daily.
It is also a fact that a high amount of calcium in your blood can cause dangers to your kidneys. So, it is really important you choose the best form of calcium. It is suggested to take your calcium only through your food. There are many calcium-rich vegetables, fruits, and other food products. The wise choice will be to go for foods that are rich in calcium.
Calcium supplements may be fine if they are taken in small doses, but the best option is to get calcium will be from your food. Try to incorporate a lot of calcium-rich vegetables, fruits, and dairy foods. Also, include non-dairy sources that are rich in calcium.