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Calcium: the Miracle Mineral

By Charlene J. Nuble

We"ve heard it not only once or twice or even thrice but a lot of times. If you want healthy bones and teeth then pack up on the Calcium intake. While it is true that calcium is absolutely necessary to the health and strength of bones and teeth, this essential mineral also serves several other important purposes in the body. Yet, many people still routinely fail to consume enough calcium in their daily diets.

In addition to the benefits to teeth and bones, calcium plays a role in blood clotting, muscle functions, and the cell membranes maintenance. It is also important to the prevention of debilitating bone diseases, such as osteoporosis.

Despite the known importance of consuming adequate amounts of calcium daily, some research have found that as much as 75% of Americans do not have a sufficient daily intake of calcium. Comprising most of these numbers are those who are following strict vegetarian diets.

Fortunately, there are several varieties of calcium supplements available on the market. Adults need between 1000 mgs and 1300 mgs of calcium per day and should not exceed beyond 2500 mgs as overdose in daily calcium intake can cause other health problems. Your health care professional can help you to choose the amount that you need daily as preexisting conditions, such as bone loss or damage due to previous deficiencies, can make a difference in how much you should be taking daily. The most common calcium supplements include calcium citrate, calcium carbonate, oyster shell or bone meal based calcium supplements, coral calcium, and calcium gluconate and calcium lactate based supplements.

In choosing your supplement, you should be aware of how to read the label to ensure that you are getting the amount of calcium that you think you are. Elemental calcium is the term used for the calcium that your body will be able to absorb. Some supplements have this and other types of calcium, but it is only the elemental calcium that can count towards your daily intake. Calcium is absorbed best in acidic circumstances, which is why many supplements are recommended for use after meals, when the stomach acids are at higher levels.

Current research has found that calcium citrate is the most efficient of the supplements because it can be absorbed easily by the system. However, although it is absorbed easier and can be taken at any time of day, whether or not there is food in the stomach, this type of calcium supplement often contains less of the elemental calcium, and thus more pills daily will be needed. On the other hand, calcium carbonate is the most common over the counter calcium supplement. It has a special instruction though and that is it should be taken only after meals when there is increased stomach acid production. These, however, should be watched for sodium content.

Calcium is needed by our system to enable us to live healthy and normal lives. Insufficient daily supply of this mineral in our body can lead to numerous health problems causing not only a lot of damage in the pockets but also an abnormal lifestyle. To avoid these complications and inconvenience, it is therefore essential to intake the right amount of calcium needed daily by our body. A little research and consultation with a nutritional specialist can help you to plan your daily diet so as to be able to obtain the healthy amount of daily calcium.


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