Live Longer and Stay Healthier with Calcium Supplement

Have you heard the terms scoliosis or osteoporosis? Maybe yes, because these are the most common diseases that adults suffer nowadays. These are due to lack of calcium, which is the one who makes our bones strong.

Calcium plays a vital role in strengthening our bones and teeth. Recent studies also found out that calcium is essential to us because it increases our nerve function, blood clotting and in controlling our blood pressure. Calcium supplement is essential especially for adults because it aids in preventing osteoporosis and helps fight against hypertension.

Calcium is abundant on dairy products such as cheese, milk, yogurt and eggs. It can also be found on grains, one good example is quinoa, and in fruits and vegetables such as oranges and broccoli. However, there are available calcium supplement that are present on tablets or in capsule form. But just be very careful and you must take prior advice from a doctor if it is safe for you to take that kind of calcium supplements. Too much intake of calcium everyday would hinder iron and zinc absorption into our system and may also lead to various deficiencies.

The most recent research concluded that through eating foods that are rich in calcium helps to reduce the amount of excessive fats in the system. Dairy industries make advertisements telling that their product would aid them to achieve weight loss. Yet, this is somewhat considered a misleading conception in some ways.

Cheese and milk from animals are very good sources of calcium, but others are also packed with almost all kinds of fats. It would be advisable to eat those plants and vegetables rich in calcium that are not good source of calcium alone but likewise contain fibers and proteins with less fat contents that will help you lose weight. Coral calcium supplement is also a good alternative since it provides us the necessary daily calcium intake with much lesser fat.

When you are taking calcium supplements, it is important that the supplement contain vitamin D because it is necessary on the absorption of the calcium into our body. Avoiding soft drinks also helps you to reduce the risk of having illnesses due to calcium deficiencies, because sodas tend to strip calcium into our bones. It is always been the best advice to take balance diet and get the necessary calcium supplement intake everyday on whole foods, fruits, in vegetables and in grains.

Foods High in Calcium

Calcium is the most prevalent mineral in our bodies. Our bones are a very important storage location for the almost one kilogram of calcium in the average adult body.

If we fail to take in enough calcium we risk developing osteoporosis, which is a disease of the bone that leaves them in a weakened condition and much more subject to breaking.

Although most common in women after menopause, osteoporosis can also develop in men and can also develop in anyone with certain hormonal disorders or some other chronic conditions. Because osteoporosis so greatly affects the structure and strength of the bones, the disease can have a very negative effect on both life expectancy as well as the quality of life.

Perhaps counter intuitively, research has found a relationship between a diet that is high in animal protein (meat) and elevated calcium loss. On the other hand, diets that rely more on cereals, vegetables and fruits have been shown to promote bone density

Given the importance of calcium to our overall health, it is a very good idea to know what foods high in calcium are on your menu.

While dairy is the most traditional source of calcium, other foods high in calcium are:

  • seaweeds like kelp and wakame
  • broccoli
  • beans
  • oranges
  • nuts
  • figs
  • molasses

Obviously most of these foods are not well represented in the modern diet which brings up the case for calcium supplement.

If your diet does not have enough of the foods high in calcium it is a very good idea to add a calcium supplement daily.

While there is a large number of calcium supplements available, one of the best is refined chia seed.

Chia is a plant native to South America, Mexico and the Southwestern U.S. For many hundreds of years, it was used as a primary food source by the native populations, including the Aztecs.

Chia is classified by the FDA as a raw, whole food and is very high in calcium, having some six times the calcium as milk.

Chia is also rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, Iron, Magnesium, dietary fiber, and Potassium.

Osteoporosis and Calcium Supplementation

Osteoporosis, one of the most terrible long-term consequences of estrogen deficiency, is common among post menopausal women, but it is not inevitable. A healthy diet, especially the consumption of adequate amounts of calcium and other minerals, has a significant part to play in both preventing and in slowing the progression of this disease. Generally, for healthy bones, women require 800 to 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily. During menopause, calcium needs increase to 1,000 to 1,500 milligrams daily.

Examples of food sources of calcium include dairy products, salmon, tuna, sardines, green leafy vegetables and tofu. You must check from time to time to see if your daily diet provides you with an adequate amount of calcium. If your diet falls short of this, or if you are not sure, take a good-quality calcium tablet to give you 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily.

One of the best sources of calcium to combat post menopausal osteoporosis is milk. A cup of milk daily will give a good start to meeting your calcium requirements. When it comes to cow’s milk, calcium-enriched milk is recommended, which is low in fat and much higher in calcium than skim milk. If you are on a dairy-free diet, you may choose calcium-enriched soy milk instead. Some soy milks are calcium-enriched; while others are low in calcium, so it is bets to read labels to be sure the product you purchase is a good source of calcium.

There are a number of different supplemental sources of calcium. Bone meal, which comes from the ground bones of young animals, contains calcium from microcrystalline hydroxyapatite. Bone meal calcium is well absorbed, but it is possible for it to be contaminated with heavy metals such as lead. Calcium carbonate, which contains 40 percent elemental calcium, is the most concentrated and inexpensive form, but its absorption varies. Calcium lactate, calcium citrate and calcium gluconate are less concentrated forms of calcium, containing only about 15 percent elemental calcium but are better absorbed than carbonate forms.

Some calcium supplements contain a mixture of different types of calcium to improve absorption. Many good calcium supplements also contain vitamin D, which enhances the absorption of calcium from the intestines. Calcium is best absorbed when taken on an empty stomach. It should not be taken, however, with high fiber-foods such as cereals, grains and legumes, as this will reduce its absorption. It can be taken with dairy products, fruits, vegetables and meats.

In addition to making sure you obtain enough calcium in your diet, avoid making dietary mistakes that can steal minerals from your bones. Keep your consumption of protein from animal sources to no more than 50 grams daily. This is the equivalent of the amount of protein found in six-ounces serving of meat or fish plus one eight-ounce glass of milk.

Our bones contain magnesium and the trace minerals zinc, boron, silica and manganese in addition to calcium and studies suggest that adequate amounts of all these different minerals are more effective than calcium alone in preventing bone loss during menopause. If you are on menopause and if your diet is not always perfect, it is bets you take a trace mineral tablet that contain all of these minerals.

Choosing the Right Joint Supplement – Know Your Options

As a consumer, it can be hard to choose which medicinal and nutritional supplements are best for you.  Many, if not most, supplements do deliver on their promises; however, some are certainly better than others and knowing what to look for when choosing a supplement is extremely important.
 
For the purposes of this article, we will focus on one common ailment – joint pain and stiffness.  Joint pain, disability, and restricted mobility affect more than 40 million Americans.  As the U.S. population ages, it is expected that this number will more than double over the next decade.  These symptoms, once considered an unavoidable consequence of aging, are now being successfully treated by joint support products.  This is particularly true in the case of osteoarthritis. 
 
While some people are genetically predisposed to developing this most common form of arthritis, many people will develop degenerative osteoarthritis due to injury or overuse of joints.  The most commonly prescribed treatment for osteoarthritis pain is non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (“NSAIDS”), which provide temporary relief from inflammation in the joints.  This common treatment generally works for a while, and many people will experience no complications from the drugs. For some, however, the side effects are significant.  Increased risk of stroke, heart attack, and digestive disorders are only a few of the serious risks associated with taking NSAIDS. 
 
Nutritional supplementation offers hope for osteoarthritis suffers, without the risk of the potentially deadly side effects of NSAIDs.  The acceptance of joint support products by consumers has been steadily increasing due to their proven effectiveness, as well as their ability to promote and maintain joint health with little or no side effects.  Millions of people have experienced some relief and pain remediation through regular supplementation with various dietary products. Glucosamine, chondroitin, and calcium have been popular choices for regular supplementation for joint problems and bone strength, but each has drawbacks with respect to effectiveness, bioavailability, and tolerability. The often overlooked mineral silica is an attractive alternative providing similar benefits but without many of the drawbacks associated with glucosamine, chondroitin, and calcium. 
 
Glucosamine:  In general, glucosamine is an amino sugar that has shown moderate ability to relieve the pain of osteoarthritis and restore partial movement to affected joints. However, taking glucosamine derived from sea creatures may cause allergic responses in individuals who are allergic to shellfish.  Individuals with diabetes may experience elevated blood sugar levels if they inject glucosamine which may even raise blood sugar for individuals who do not have diabetes.  Pregnant or breastfeeding women are also advised to avoid taking glucosamine because little is known about its effects on this patient population. 
 
During research studies, gastrointestinal complaints such as constipation, diarrhea, and nausea were attributed to taking glucosamine.  Some study participants who took glucosamine sulfate also reported drowsiness or headache. In addition, glucosamine may increase the risk of excessive bleeding when it is taken in conjunction with warfarin; other anticoagulants or anti-platelet drugs; aspirin; or herbal products that reduce the blood’s ability to clot.  Finally, injecting it may increase blood sugar levels, thereby interfering with insulin and drugs or herbals that lower blood sugar.
 
Chondroitin: Chondroitin is a sulfate molecule that occurs naturally in the body and is believed to provide a different chemical from glucosamine that is important in the formation of cartilage; however, its effects are not understood as well as glucosamine’s. Some people believe that it may help keep cartilage healthy by absorbing fluid into the connective tissue. However, studies have not shown conclusively that chondroitin helps repair or grow new cartilage or even helps prevent cartilage from further deterioration.
 
Many chondroitin supplements are made from cow cartilage.  If you are a vegetarian or otherwise object to the use of animal based products, look for a supplement made from algae instead.  There have been occasional reports of mild side effects which include nausea, upset stomach, diarrhea, constipation, indigestion, stomach pain, and heartburn. Chondroitin is similar in chemical composition to heparin, a drug used to thin the blood; accordingly, it is theoretically possible for chondroitin to increase the effects of blood thinners. 
 
Chondroitin is often combined with glucosamine in many popular supplement products such as Osteo Bi-Flex, Cosamin and Estroven. The Arthritis Foundation recommends exercising caution in taking glucosamine and chondroitin for the treatment of osteoarthritis. Moreover, due to the popularity of glucosamine-chondroitin supplements and the apparent lack of reliable information about their usefulness in treating osteoarthritis,the National Institutes of Health funded a study to test the effects of chondroitin and glucosamine on osteoarthritis of the knee.  This multicenter, placebo-controlled, double-blind, six month long trial found that glucosamine plus chondroitin had no statistically significant effect on symptoms of osteoarthritis in the overall group of osteoarthritis patients.
 
Calcium:  Calcium supplements are widely popular and come in several forms including calcium carbonate and calcium citrate.  The primary difference between these two types of calcium supplements is the amount of elemental (or actual) calcium they contain. Calcium carbonate contains almost twice as much as citrate, which generally makes the carbonate form less expensive.  Calcium citrate is often recommended for the elderly because it may be easier for their digestive systems to absorb.  A recent review of calcium and bone mass studies found that calcium citrate malate has high bioavailability in all age ranges including young girls as well as postmenopausal women. 
 
Side effects of calcium supplementation include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, constipation, stomach pain, thirst, dry mouth, and increased urination.  Although it is well accepted that calcium supplements reduce the risk for osteoporosis, there is concern that high calcium dosages may increase the risk for hardening of the arteries and kidney stones.  High calcium intake can result in calcium deposition into soft tissue and can also impair absorption of other minerals such as magnesium, zinc, and iron.  If taking calcium supplements, you should not eat large amounts of bran or whole grain cereals and breads because they may reduce absorption of calcium.  Similarly, consuming alcohol, large amounts of caffeine or vitamin D, or using tobacco products may also impair the absorption of calcium.
 
Silica: Silica, also called silicon, is an essential mineral and potentiator of other minerals like calcium for bones; glucosamine for joints; and antioxidants for healthier arteries and cardiovascular function.  Silica is a trace mineral required for the formation of healthy connective tissue, bone, skin, hair, and nails.  Silica is also essential for collagen formation, healthy arteries, and regulation of calcium deposition in the bones.  Absorption is critical to its effectiveness because dietary sources of silica such as those found in food, horsetail, and colloidal gel (silica) products are very poorly absorbed because of their insoluble, polymerized forms.  For optimal absorption to occur, dietary silica must first be converted to organic silicon (monomethylsilanetriol). This form of silica has excellent bioavailability and is found in premium product offerings such as Orgono Living Silica. Unlike the other nutritional supplements discussed for joints, silica has no known side effects.
 
In addition to knowing the differences between each option available, here are a few other considerations to keep in mind when selecting a nutritional supplement.
 
Quality: Is the company committed to observing Good Manufacturing Practices? Does the product contain pharmaceutical-grade ingredients?  Does it contain the recommended amount of each ingredient to be effective?
 
Delivery: Form is important. Powders, pills, tablets, and capsules all have little “extras” that can interfere with the body’s ability to absorb supplements.  Liquid delivery of the supplement ensures your body can absorb the active ingredients quickly and effectively, without extra binders, fillers, and additives found in powders, pills, tablets, and capsules. 
 
Tolerability:     Is the product safe? Are there any side effects associated with the product? Have there been any drug interactions reported?
 
Reputation: Is the company reliable? Does the company feature testimonials from satisfied customers?  Does it have a negative reputation?
 
Customer care: This is particularly important in nutritional supplements, as many companies use independent sellers to distribute their product.  Is the company you purchase your supplements from an authorized distributor?  Do they stand behind their product?  Do they ship quickly? 
 
As you can see, there are many factors and options to consider when choosing a nutritional supplement for joint health. Being informed is the best way to decide which one is right for you.

McAlindon TE, et al. “Glucosamine and Chondroitin for Treatment of Osteoarthritis: A Systematic Quality Assessment and Meta-analysis”. JAMA 283: 1469-1475, 2000.

Clegg DO, et al. “Glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and the two in combination for painful knee osteoarthritis”. New Engl J Med 354 (8): 795-808, 2006.