Calcium is a vital mineral that the body requires for its myriad functions. One of the main needs for Calcium is the growth and maintenance of the bones and the teeth. Calcium is also essential for the development of the nervous system of the human body. Over some time, a large section of the population shows an alarming level of calcium deficiency. To overcome this, medical practitioners advise Calcium supplements. These supplements help overcome the gap that has appeared due to incorrect diet or other bodily functions.
A pregnant woman requires an even larger amount of Calcium since most of it is passed on to the child in the womb. Calcium is also an essential part of a woman who has an active lifestyle. However, the confusion that may arise is with the correct quantity that the body requires. Even for those who are on Calcium supplements, it is necessary to know how much Calcium is required for optimal performance of the body.
How much calcium do you need?
There are many schools of thought when it comes to the intake of calcium. For many years it was recommended that for women who were 50 years old and below, 1000 mg was the key. For those who were above 50 years old, it would 1200 mg a day. However, current studies show that this amount may not be the correct dosage we had been looking for. The World Health Organisation or WHO recommends 500 mg of daily dosage while the Health Ministry of the United Kingdom pegs it at 700 mg a day.
So why was 1200 mg a day recommended?
Medical research is evolution by itself. It goes through various phases. The primary reason Calcium was given a high daily dosage count is because of the role it played in bodily functions. Calcium other than being the most important component for the upkeep of bones and teeth also supports the overall well-being of the human body. One of the activities that Calcium takes part in is bone remodeling. The body gets its Calcium by having the bones release excess Calcium into the bloodstream. Bone density drops when bones break down. To keep the balance intact, this excess Calcium in the blood is used. It is also used to nurture the nervous system of the body. This is particularly necessary for the postmenopausal woman, whose Calcium level may fall drastically. It was then recommended that the daily dosage of women above 50, be within the range of 800 mg to 1200 mg. However, later studies revealed that since the earlier research was done over a week, it wouldn’t put things in a correct perspective. They stated that Calcium research, to be done perfectly, would require data spanning over a few years.
Later studies also revealed that excessive intake of Calcium did not prevent fractures or injuries.
There are major downsides to excessive Calcium
- Kidney Stones
One of the major disadvantages of extra calcium in the body is the building of kidney stones. A large amount of Calcium accumulating in the body passes through the urine. This is the amount that the body is unable to synthesize. Non-Synthesized Calcium often remains within the body and crystallizes. These are what we call Kidney stones. It is a painful and uncomfortable consequence and in many cases requires intervention, like surgery, for removal. It is often said that Calcium itself is the counter to kidney stones, but excess of it is not.
- Heart Attacks
Some studies revealed that excess Calcium led to heart attacks. A 2010 study led to the conclusion that an elevated level of Calcium in the human body provides enough opportunity for a cardiac arrest.
The role Vitamin D plays
If Calcium is the key to the betterment of the bone structure of the body, then Vitamin D plays an equally important role. The primary role of Vitamin D is to help the body absorb Calcium. Without Vitamin D, it would be impossible for the body to absorb the Calcium that gets released in the blood or is consumed through diet or Calcium supplements. Vitamin D is produced in the skin through the absorption of sunlight. One of the reasons why most of us have Vitamin D deficiency is because of a lack of outdoor activities. This would then have to be supplemented through Vitamin D tablets.
So how much Calcium is needed?
Current estimates stand at 500 mg to 700 mg a day, either through the normal diet or Calcium supplements. Anything beyond that may pose a challenge to the human body.
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