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Calcium Supplements: Be warned!

Calcium is an essential mineral with a wide range of biological roles. Apart from being a major constituent of bones and teeth, calcium (Ca) is vital for:

  • Muscle contraction

  • Nerve conduction

  • The beating of the heart

  • Blood coagulation

  • Glandular secretion

  • Energy metabolism

  • Maintenance of immune function

Calcium (Ca) is generally obtained from the diet via milk products, leafy green vegetables, whole grain cereals and flour, and hard water, but due to deficiencies in the diet, it may be required in supplemental form. It’s in this supplemental form that caution is advised

Adult humans generally need between 20mg and 30mg of FOOD Calcium per day (the Foodstate Ca is 30mg). So why are Ca supplements generally sold in 1000mg tablets? It is because they exist as inorganic mineral salts, but we have not evolved to absorb mineral salts (miniature rocks), we need our minerals in food form

There are various Ca salts available each varying in content and bioavailability.  Calcium carbonate (blackboard chalk) is the most commonly sold calcium supplement. Carbonates have been shown to cause gastrointestinal side effects such as constipation, bloating, gas and flatulence and only about 5% of the actual calcium is retained by the body

Many Ca salts are incompatible with a wide range of drugs, so they are inappropriate for a large percentage of the population who regularly take drugs such as tetracycline antibiotics. High intakes of Ca salts may also interfere with absorption of other nutrients such as iron and zinc; hence they are not suitable for individuals that are deficient in iron or zinc. It has also been shown that raised Ca intakes can lead to phosphorous deficiencies

Studies have shown that certain preparations of Ca (e.g., bone meal, dolomite, Ca carbonate) may contain contaminants such as lead, aluminium, arsenic, mercury, and cadmium. Calcium citrate increase the absorption of aluminium within the gut.

Food based calcium (foodstate)

There are many inadequacies and potential problems by taking calcium as a salt of any kind. The calcium provided to us through food delivers calcium bound to protein complex carriers. This is how our digestive systems through evolution have developed to receive calcium and so logically this is how we should provide it