Thursday, May 18, 2006

Calcium - Why We Need It And Where We Get It

Author: Michael Russell

Calcium. We see ads for it on TV everyday. Get more calcium. Now you can get all the calcium you need for a whole day in one little pill. Heck, we even have calcium in our antacids now. So just what is it with the calcium craze? Is calcium REALLY that important? In this article we're going to go over some of the things you can naturally and not so naturally find calcium in and why we need it.

Most people probably know that calcium is important for maintaining healthy teeth and bones. But the importance of calcium doesn't stop there. It is also important for the proper functioning of muscles and nerves and overall body health. It even helps your blood clot faster should you get cut.

Most people think they get enough calcium every day. The truth is, most people don't and when calcium levels drop too low, then calcium is taken from the bones which is what causes them to become brittle. The average person loses between 400 and 500 mg of calcium per day.

So just how much calcium does an average person need and how much do we normally get?

What most people don't know is that a good portion of the calcium we get daily comes from sunlight. So taking a nice long walk on a sunny day will give you a good dose of calcium right off the bat. This is another reason why people who exercise regularly by walking are in better shape than those of us who don't.

Aside from the calcium we get from sunlight, studies show that a person should eat about 700 mg of calcium daily. However this is also dependent on our age. Children who are still growing need more calcium than adults. However, older adults need more calcium than younger adults because as we age the bones tend to become more brittle. Post menopausal women are especially at risk of calcium deficiency and should increase their calcium intake to about 1200 mg per day.

Unfortunately, aside from milk based products like milk and cheese, not a lot of food contains significant amounts of calcium. This is why it becomes difficult sometimes to get all the calcium we need just from the food we eat and we need to get additional calcium in supplements.

The most common of these supplements are vitamins. A typical multi vitamin will contain between 150 and 200 mg of calcium per pill. This is not nearly enough to give us all the calcium we need but it is hoped that between this pill, the foods we eat and the sunlight we get. it will be enough. If not, there are other sources of calcium.

For people who suffer from excess acid they can get extra calcium by taking a Tums. The regular Tums has 200 mg of calcium per tablet and the extra strength has 300 mg per tablet. Combining a Tums with a multi vitamin and your regular dairy intake should give you more than enough calcium in your diet unless you are in need of extra calcium. In that case there are calcium supplement pills that contain as much as 500 mg of calcium per pill.

Certainly with proper diet and all the available calcium supplements around there is really no need for a normal healthy person to be calcium deficient.

It may just be time for a snack of milk and cookies.

About the author: Michael Russell

Your Independent guide to Calcium


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