Calcium

Yay!! I’ve lost 25.6 pounds total so far with 54.4 pounds to go to reach my goal!  My BMI has dropped from 36.9 to 33.1 and my goal is 24.9.

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calcium

Calcium

Calcium is vital for forming strong bones and teeth and for healthy gums.

It’s also important in keeping your heartbeat regular and in sending nerve impulses.

Calcium lowers cholesterol levels and helps prevent cardiovascular disease.

It’s needed for muscle growth and contraction, and for preventing muscle cramps.

It may increase the rate of bone growth and bone mineral density in children.

Recently, calcium has been shown to promote weight loss, especially in terms of fat loss.

But, these findings aren’t universally accepted.

This important mineral is also essential in blood clotting and preventing cancer.

It may also lower blood pressure and prevent bone loss associated with osteoporosis.

Calcium provides energy and helps structure DNA.

In addition, calcium helps to keep your skin healthy and protects against preeclampsia during pregnancy.

Calcium protects your bones and teeth from lead by preventing absorption of this toxic metal.

Calcium deficiency can lead to the following problems:  aching joints, brittle nails, eczema, elevated blood cholesterol, heart palpitations, high blood pressure, insomnia, muscle cramps, nervousness, numbness in your arms and/or legs, a pasty complexion, rheumatoid arthritis, rickets, and tooth decay.

Deficiencies of calcium are also associated with cognitive impairment, convulsions, depression, delusions, and hyperactivity.

Sources

Calcium is found in dairy foods, salmon, sardines, seafood, and dark green leafy vegetables.

Other food sources include almonds, asparagus, blackstrap molasses, brewer’s yeast, broccoli, buttermilk, cabbage, carob, cheese, collards, dandelion greens, dulse, figs, filberts, goat’s milk, kale, kelp, milk, mustard greens, oats, prunes, sesame seeds, soybeans, tofu, turnip greens, watercress, whey, and yogurt.

Herbs containing calcium include alfalfa, burdock root, cayenne, chamomile, chickweed, chicory, dandelion, eyebright, fennel seed, fenugreek, flaxseed, hops, kelp, lemongrass, mullein, nettle, oat straw, paprika, parsley, peppermint, plantain, raspberry leaves, red clover, rose hips, shepherd’s purse, violet leaves, yarrow, and yellow dock.

The amount of calcium in these herbs is so small, however, they shouldn’t be considered part of your dietary intake.

Comments

The amino acid lysine is needed for calcium absorption.

Food sources of lysine include cheese, eggs, fish, lima beans, milk, potatoes, red meat, soy products, and brewer’s yeast.

Lysine is also available in supplement form.

Female athletes and menopausal women need more calcium than other women.

Heavy exercising hinders calcium uptake, but moderate exercise promotes it.

Insufficient vitamin D intake, or eating too much phosphorus and magnesium, also hinders the uptake of calcium.

If you’re taking medication for osteoporosis, a supplement containing vitamin D and calcium is needed to help the medicine work right.

Other types of prescription medicines, like steroids and anticonvulsants (antiseizure drugs), interfere with bone metabolism, and taking supplemental calcium will help.

If calcium is taken with iron, they bind together, preventing good absorption of both minerals.

It’s therefore best to take calcium and iron at different times.

Too much calcium can interfere with the absorption of zinc, and excess zinc can interfere with calcium absorption.

For most people, the best ratio between supplemental calcium and zinc is up to 2,500 mg of calcium with 50 mg of zinc daily.

A hair analysis can determine the levels of these and other minerals in your body.

A diet high in protein, fat, and/or sugar affects calcium uptake.

The average American diet of meats, refined grains, and soft drinks (high in phosphorus) leads to more excretion of calcium.

Consuming alcoholic beverages, coffee, junk foods, excess salt, and/or white flour also leads to the loss of calcium by your body.

A diet based on vegetables, fruits, and whole grains is preferable.

Oxalic acid (found in almonds, beet greens, cashews, chard, cocoa, rhubarb, soybeans, and spinach) interferes with calcium absorption.

The normal consumption of foods containing oxalic acid shouldn’t be a problem, but overeating of these foods inhibits the absorption of calcium.

Oxalic acid can also combine with calcium to form calcium-oxalate kidney stones.

Studies have shown that taking magnesium and potassium supplements can prevent the formation of this type of stone.

Calcium supplements are more effective when taken in smaller doses spread throughout the day and before bedtime.

This mineral works less effectively when taken in a single megadose.

Most experts agree no more than 500 mg should be taken at one time, as this is the maximum amount your body can absorb in one dose.

However, because calcium also promotes a sound sleep when taken at night, some recommend taking a single dose at bedtime.

Because your body is more likely to absorb a higher percentage of calcium when taken in smaller doses, we recommend taking 1,500-2,000 mg in divided doses with food throughout the day.

Antacids like Tums aren’t recommended as a source of calcium.

While they do contain calcium, if taken in quantities sufficient to serve as a source of this mineral, they could neutralize your stomach acid needed for calcium absorption.

Chewable versions are available; these are ideal for children who don’t meet calcium needs from dairy products.

It’s best to match the percentage Daily Value for calcium and vitamin D.

For example, a good product would have 50% DV for calcium and vitamin D in a single unit.

Then you can take 2 or more depending on your need.

Cautions

Calcium may interfere with the effects of verapamil, a calcium channel blocker prescribed for heart problems and high blood pressure.

Calcium can also interfere with the effectiveness of tetracycline, thyroid hormone, certain anticonvulsants, and steroids.

Consult your health care provider before taking supplemental calcium if you take any of these drugs.

Phenobarbital and diuretics may cause a deficiency of calcium.

People with a history of kidney stones or kidney disease shouldn’t take calcium supplements except on the advice of a physician.

The maximum safe dosage of supplemental calcium is now 2,500 mg per day.

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Dick and Lenay

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