Calcium Supplementation: Why Should I?
Aside from wanting to ward off the negative side effects associated with not getting enough calcium, there are plenty of other reasons to make calcium supplementation part of your daily routine. As we all know, calcium plays is a big part of our bone make up, but did you know that our bones will continue to grow in mass until we reach the age of 30?
At this point we can start to experience bone loss which happens over time, but can be accelerated by not receiving enough calcium or not doing enough regular exercise, which can help strengthen our bones. To help avoid developing osteopenia (which is when one has low bone mass) or even worse, osteoporosis, we must get regular calcium to help keep our bones strong and healthy. The more bone mass we acquire by age 30, the longer we can keep our bones from losing enough mass to become a problem.
There have been studies that show a connection between high levels of calcium and lower overall weight and a lower weight gain over time. According to the National Institutes for Health, there are two possible reasons for this. First, it is proposed that by taking a high level of calcium you may reduce the amount of calcium stored in fat cells which can inhibit fat buildup. Secondly, it is though that calcium might prevent the absorption of fat by binding itself to small amounts of dietary fat and then being flushed out of the body in your urine. While most clinical trials to test the relationship between calcium supplementation and weight loss show no concrete connection, according to the National Institutes of Health “any apparent effects of calcium and dairy products on weight regulation and body composition are complex, inconsistent, and not well understood” – so hopefully over time the studies and clinical trials will come to a more definitive answer.
Another reason to consider calcium supplementation is to curb symptoms associated with PMS (premenstrual syndrome). According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, a study of women taking 1200 mg/day of calcium reported a 50% decrease in their PMS symptoms, such as bloating, food cravings, headaches and overall moodiness. Another study claimed a reduction in menstrual pain due to an increase in calcium intake. So in addition to preventing some scary side effects from not having enough calcium, there are clearly some benefits to getting this mineral. Whether you’re getting your calcium from food sources or a supplement, it’s important to make sure you’re getting the right amount of calcium for your age and circumstances. Check RDIs and with your doctor if you have questions about your calcium intake before starting any kind of calcium supplementation.