Myth: Calcium supplement pills work
Myth: Calcium supplement pills work
How many times you’ve heard “calcium is good for your bones”? Calcium is one of the most popular dietary supplements on the market because many people believe that taking calcium supplements is a simple way to prevent osteoporosis and bone fractures associated with it. Is it so? Let’s consider the facts.
What are calcium supplement pills made of?
First and foremost: your body must be able to absorb calcium for it to be utilized in the body. And now let’s see what calcium supplement pills are made of.
Different kinds of calcium compounds are used in calcium supplements:
- Calcium carbonate (40% of calcium
- Calcium citrate (21% of calcium)
- Calcium gluconate (9% of calcium)
- Calcium lactate (13% of calcium)
Calcium carbonate provides one of the highest concentrations of elemental calcium (35-40%). It’s the cheapest type and therefore most widely used. However, it has poor solubility in water (try to dissolve chalk in water) and requires extra stomach acid product ion to be absorbed. It is suggested that calcium carbonate’s bioavailability is between 40 and 15%. Due to this fact calcium carbonate is generally considered to be one of the least bioavailable forms of calcium
A regular 500mg calcium supplement tablet with vitamin D is made from:
(we’ve just talked about it).
– a digestible polysaccharide (sugar actually) which is moderately sweet and commonly used for the production of soft drinks and candy
– a mineral oil from a mineral source, particularly a distillate of petroleum, which is not approved in food products in many countries, and incidental amounts in foods are carefully regulated; it is typically used for the glossy effect it produces, and to prevent the candy pieces from adhering to each other..
– an emulsifier, thickening and suspending agent, and an alternative to animal gelatin
– a non-toxic soluble in water substance from lipids that is widely used in the food industry as a sweetener and in pharmaceutical formulations
– one of the five forms of vitamin D
– a polyether compound with many applications from industrial manufacturing to medicine
– a wax of the palm leaves
Who calcium supplements are recommended to?
Calcium supplements are widely recommended to people who for some reasons may find it difficult to get enough dietary calcium. There are some examples:
- lactose intolerant individuals who limit dairy products
- those who have osteoporosis
- women in menopause
- pregnant women
- vegans and vegetarians
- those who consume large amounts of protein or sodium, which can cause the body to excrete more calcium
- those who receive long-term treatment with corticosteroids
- those who have certain bowel or digestive diseases that decrease your ability to absorb calcium, such as inflammatory bowel disease or celiac disease
In these situations, calcium supplements might help you meet your calcium requirements. Or might do you more bad than good.
Side effects of calcium supplement pills
General side effects can include: constipation, upset stomach, nausea, loss of appetite, unusual weight loss, mood changes, bone or muscle pain, headache, increased thirst and urination, , unusual tiredness and weakness.
There is not enough information to say if calcium safe or not when taken orally during pregnancy and breast-feeding. It is more likely safe.
When gastric acid levels are low than normal, the calcium absorption is also low; however, low acid levels in the stomach do not appear to reduce calcium absorption if calcium is taken with food.
have to be in balance in the body: too much calcium can throw this balance off and cause harm.
If a person under thyroid hormone replacement treatment, calcium can interfere with it and cause harm.
People having this health condition should avoid calcium supplements.
Calcium supplementation can increase the risk of having too much calcium in the blood in people with poor kidney function.
People who smoke absorb less calcium than non-smokers.
It’s not sure fact, but there may be a link between calcium supplements and heart disease.
There are a number of studies indicating that taking calcium supplements can increase your risk for cardiovascular and heart problems.
from supplements, fortified food and high-calcium diets, can cause milk-alkali syndrome, which has serious toxicity and can be fatal. Some studies suggest a correlation between high calcium intake (2000mg per day, which is equivalent to six or more glasses of milk per day) and prostate cancer.
Bottom line, while offering little benefits to your bones, calcium supplements can cause big problems to your health. As we can see, calcium supplement is more likely another example when a good idea goes wrong.