Simple Science

Uses Of Calcium

CalciumPhoto by zippythesimshead

Calcium is important for the growth of new bones and maintaining their strength. It also helps maintain muscle function, heart rhythm, and more. Calcium supplements are standard for preventing and treating weak and easily broken bones, condition also known as osteoporosis.

Calcium is one of the best-selling supplements in the United States, due to its health benefits. However, calcium is used for a number of other conditions. Many doctors use calcium to control high levels of phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium in the blood, etc.

Postmenopausal women are the people at highest risk of a calcium deficiency. People who are vegan or lactose intolerant are also at increased risk of calcium deficiency, because dairy products are one of the most common sources of calcium. In this article we will discuss all the great uses of calcium and why it is important for every living being.

Calcium basics

Calcium builds strong teeth as well as bones. However, it is an electrolyte, which means calcium can break down into small particles that carry an electrical charge. Calcium stimulates muscles and nerves, including the muscles in your blood vessels and heart, because it’s an electrolyte. Our bodies keep tight control over the amount of calcium in our blood, since calcium affects such vital functions. Our bodies take calcium from our bones to fill its other roles when we don’t consume enough calcium and our blood levels drop.

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Relieve heartburn

Calcium is the active ingredient in some over-the-counter antacids in the form of calcium carbonate. There is a warning about the maximum number of tablets which you can take during a day on labels on antacid products. It is important that you follow those instructions, since there is a chance to consume a toxic amount of calcium carbonate. It is possible to damage your nervous system and kidneys if you consume too much calcium. Irregular heartbeat, muscle cramps, confusion, headaches, diarrhea or constipation, vomiting, nausea, and abdominal pain are symptoms of an overdose.

Prevent osteoporosis

Every person naturally loses bone at a rate of about 1% per year after the age of 40. Osteopenia develops when you do not consume enough calcium in order to replace lost bone. It is a condition when your bone density is lower than normal, but still it is not low enough to be diagnosed as osteoporosis. This condition leads to osteoporosis and increases the risk of breaking a bone. Taking calcium supplements is an effective way to prevent osteoporosis and treat osteopenia.

Calcium supplements

Calcium citrate and calcium carbonate are the two most common forms of calcium used in supplements. In order to be properly absorbed, calcium carbonate needs stomach acid, so you should take it with food. On the other hand, you can take calcium citrate with or without food. However, limit your does to 500 milligrams or less and allow four to six hours between doses for optimal absorption. A possible connection between an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and calcium supplements was explored three years ago. Most studies showed no adverse effects. However, more research is needed to verify potential risks, because the information is inconsistent to this date.

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