Calcium is essential to strong, healthy bones, especially in women, and calcium citrate is the best of the calcium supplements. Calcium citrate is the calcium salt of citric acid, often used as water softener. It is also available as a dietary supplement in either tablet or liquid form. The addition of citrate to the calcium makes it easier for the body to absorb. Calcium is essential to many of the body’s functions including strengthening bone and teeth structure, and the absorption of minerals such as phosphorus and potassium. Calcium also helps with heart rate, circulation, blood pressure and clotting. It is helpful to the nervous system, improving memory, intellectual performance, increasing resistance to stress and acts as an antidepressant.
Calcium absorption is facilitated by an acidic environment, which is why calcium citrate is the best of the many types of calcium supplements. Because it does not require additional amounts of acid from the stomach to be absorbed, calcium citrate can be taken anytime during the day. It provides a low dose of calcium per pill, however, which means that a relatively large number of pills must be taken, depending on how much calcium you need. Most of the body’s calcium is located in the teeth and bones. Lesser amounts are found in nerve cells, blood, tissues and fluids.
- It helps you live longer: A team of Swedish researchers has recently found that people who consume foods rich in calcium, especially men, have a 25 percent lower risk of dying in the next decade. Consumption of calcium rich foods like yogurt, milk, spinach, green onions, eggs yolks helps to reduce blood pressure, cholesterol, or blood sugar levels—all things that can lead to mortality. Generally, people between the ages of 19 and 50 years should consume 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day and 1,200 milligrams per day after the age of 50.
- Helps keep weight down: Research has shown that calcium deficiency correlates with weight gain, especially for post-menopausal women. Taking calcium supplements has therefore been shown to help keep weight down. In one 2007 study, post menopausal women taking calcium supplements were 11% less likely to gain weight
- Increase of calcium during pregnancy improves bone structure and birth weight in babies: Increasing intake of calcium during pregnancy is essential to the strength and density of your baby’s bones and teeth. If you don’t have enough calcium in your system during pregnancy, the fetus will draw on your supply of calcium, which will have detrimental effects to your teeth and bones.
- Calcium enables effective muscle contractions: Body builders benefit from calcium supplements because calcium helps with muscle contraction.
- Calcium increases bone density: Our bones cells are constantly regenerating themselves and therefore are a constant need of new calcium.
- Reduce Blood Pressure: In proper amounts, calcium citrate can help reduce blood pressure. Patients that receive high levels of calcium in their diet or through supplementation have demonstrated a slight reduction in blood pressure, but not enough to address hypertension.
- Osteoporosis: Bone mass gradually declines with age. Osteoporosis is the condition where the bones are fragile to the point they’re in danger of breaking. Calcium, combined with vitamin D and phosphorus helps maintain or reduce the rate of bone density loss that occurs with the onset of osteoporosis.
- Hypertension: Calcium citrate is a remedy against hypertension or high blood pressure.
- Premenstrual syndrome: Studies have shown that calcium supplements are an effective remedy for premenstrual syndrome.
- Stress: Calcium, which supports the nervous system, is an effective natural remedy for stress.
Potential side effects
- Stomach pain: Excess calcium can irritate the stomach, and lead to vomiting and nausea. This tends to occur especially when supplements are taken the body is not actually deficient of calcium. Combining calcium with magnesium can ward against stomach irritation. Supplements are often sold in combination like this.
- Milk-alkali syndrome: This syndrome is the result of an overconsumption of calcium, causing a shift in the body’s acid/base balance towards alkaline. The syndrome results in calcium deposits in the kidneys. The condition is often asymptomatic but in some cases causes back pain, fatigue and dizziness. In extreme cases, the syndrome can lead to kidney failure.
- Kidney stones: Overconsumption of calcium has been linked to kidney stones, which result in pain, bleeding into urine and blockage of the ureters, the tubes that release urine from the kidneys to the bladder. Risk of kidney stones increases dramatically when you exceed more than 2,000 milligrams of calcium daily. If you are experiencing severe pains in your kidneys, see a doctor as soon as possible.
- Heart attack: calcium supplements can increase blood levels of calcium, which can have an adverse effect on the cardiovascular system. The arteries become more rigid, which can lead to heart failure.
- Digestive disorders: People with digestive problems like crohn’s or IBS may have trouble with calcium, which is absorbed through the intestines. If you suffer from digestive problems consult your doctor before taking calcium.
In the right doses, calcium citrate is a healthy addition to any diet. It is especially useful for women who are pregnant or post menopausal. Most potential side effects are linked to over consumption or improper use.