Form of Calcium is Best for You?
Findings suggest that
osteoporosis, which is typically considered a female geriatric
disease, could be prevented with the use of supplemental calcium
at an early age. The Ohio State University Medical Center
conducted a study in which they tracked calcium's effects
on bone density in girls ages 8-13 for a period of seven years.
The researchers found that calcium supplementation significantly
increased bone mass development during their childhood growth
spurt. Velimir Matkovic, the lead author in the study and
director of the Osteoporosis Prevention and Treatment Center,
states "increased calcium use during adolescence can prevent
fractures and osteoporosis later in life."
Several articles have also been written regarding the importance
of calcium among males. Osteoporosis is not a condition that
is found only in women, it is a concern for men as well. About
20% of those who suffer from osteoporosis are men.
Calcium, in men and women alike, is fundamental to bone formation
and one of the most important minerals in our body. A relatively
small but vital amount of calcium is found in blood and soft
tissue where it plays multiple roles. Our body needs calcium
to repair bones, help nerve function, make muscles contract,
clot blood, and allow for proper functioning of the heart.
When calcium intake is low or inefficiently absorbed, it is
withdrawn from our bones and teeth in order to maintain these
normal biological functions.
Both consumers and producers have acknowledged the importance
of calcium. As a public health approach to increase calcium
intake, we have increased the number of foods that are fortified
with calcium. Some not so obvious foods that are good sources
of calcium are almonds, tofu, and dark green leafy vegetables
such as broccoli, collard greens, bok choy and spinach. Even
though we have a wonderful variety of calcium sources, it
is still recommended for individuals to take a calcium supplement.
There are at least a dozen common calcium preparations and
hundreds of different formulations available. This leads to
a critical question, which calcium supplement is most suitable
When choosing a calcium supplement, a key factor to consider
is the amount of elemental calcium present in the recommended
dose. Elemental calcium is the amount of calcium in the supplement
that is absorbed by the body. Most brands of calcium list
the total weight of each tablet, which includes the amount
of elemental calcium and whatever it's bound to such as carbonate,
citrate, gluconate, lactate, etc. One way to determine the
amount of elemental calcium in a supplement is to look at
the Nutritional Facts label, which should include the percentage
of Daily Value (DV). This percentage is based on 1,000 mg
of elemental calcium. For example, if a calcium supplement
has 70% DV, it contains 700 mg of elemental calcium. Always
take into account the serving size when reading DV percentages.
Studies from University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
show that Calcium Citrate is better absorbed by the body than
calcium carbonate and is more favorable at preventing Osteoporosis
(bone deteriorating disease) as well as other bone related
diseases. Various forms of calcium are available that are
enhanced with different vitamins and minerals. Calcium enhanced
with vitamin D is recommended because the body is able to
absorb calcium efficiently with the help of vitamin D. Fat-soluble
vitamin D controls calcium homeostasis and has long been known
for its involvement in mineral metabolism and bone growth.
In the absence of vitamin D, dietary calcium is wasted and
In Conclusion: A few key points to remember. Osteoporosis
may be preventable with early supplementation of elemental
calcium and weight bearing-exercises such as walking, running,
or hiking. Recent research confirmed calcium citrate is more
absorbable when compared to calcium carbonate and should be
fortified with vitamin D. And lastly, eat your green leafy