What you should know before reaching for the calcium supplements8 years ago | Calcium supplements
By pH health care professionals
Calcium supplements are pretty popular, but they may not be helping your health like you think they are. Many people take them for their bones, but research shows “the more the merrier” just isn’t the case with calcium. Taking in excess calcium (more than you need) in the form of supplements or food won’t make your bones less likely to break. Plus, calcium supplements may cause bloating, constipation, interference with medications, and particularly in men, greater heart attack risk (due to vascular calcification).
New research also shows calcium supplements may increase dementia risk in older women, specifically women who have had a stroke or other signs of cerebrovascular disease (conditions related to circulation of blood to the brain).
Getting enough calcium from your food, or supplementing only when necessary, is best.
So how much calcium do you need?
The National Institutes of Health recommends 1,000 mg for adults age 19-50, and recommends women age 51 and up, and men age 71 and up, bump up to 1,200 mg.
To give you an idea of how much 1,000 mg is, let’s look at some popular calcium-rich foods. 8 oz. of plain yogurt (low fat), for example, contains around 415 mg. An ounce and a half of cheddar cheese has around 307 mg, and the same amount of mozzarella has 333 mg.
However, you can also find calcium in non-dairy sources like fortified soy milk (299 mg), tofu (253 mg), and vegetables. A cup of boiled turnip greens has 198 mg; a cup of raw kale has 100 mg; and a cup of raw broccoli has 42 mg, the NIH reports.
How to know if you’re getting enough calcium
If you are worried you are not getting enough calcium, before you reach for that supplement bottle, consider getting a simple blood test with a doctor, who can determine whether you are deficient and what the appropriate dosage would be in your case.
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