We all know that calcium is needed for healthy bones and teeth. However, the role of this essential mineral extends beyond maintaining healthy bones.Calcium is also a prominent mineral needed for muscle contraction, enzyme and hormone secretion, contraction and expansion of blood vessels and for transmitting neural signals. Although, you can find abundant calcium rich foods, you cannot rule out the importance of calcium supplements in your diet.
The recommended dietary allowance for calcium varies according to age, gender and health condition. To prevent deficiency of this essential mineral adult women need between 1,200 to 1,300mg of calcium per day. 1,000 to 1,200mg of calcium per day is usually sufficient for adult men. Children between 9 and 14 years of age need about 1,300mg of calcium daily.
Milk and dairy products are the richest sources of calcium. Calcium could be found in few plant sources such as kale, broccoli, spinach, turnip greens and Chinese cabbage. If adequate calcium is not present in your diet, you can meet your calcium requirement with the help of calcium supplements.
Types of calcium supplements
Calcium supplements are available in the form of carbonate, lactate, citrate and gluconate. The normal acid content in your stomach is usually sufficient for absorbing calcium citrate. However, it is advisable to avoid calcium citrate if you are suffering from acid reflux. You can take this calcium supplement on empty stomach. Calcium carbonate supplements should be taken after meals.
Calcium supplement sold in the form of coral calcium is a form of calcium carbonate. Calcium lactate and calcium gluconate supplements do not contain enough elemental calcium. To meet your calcium requirement you should consume large doses of these calcium supplements. Calcium supplements are also available in the form of oyster shell, dolomite and bone meal.
While taking calcium supplements, you should check the content of elemental calcium in the pill. Calcium carbonate supplements usually contain 40 percent of elemental calcium by weight. On the other hand, calcium citrate contains 21 percent of calcium by weight. Instead of taking one large dose of a calcium supplement, you should divide the supplement into smaller doses. Taking two doses of 500mg of elemental calcium per day is usually adequate for meeting your daily calcium requirement.