Calcium: Benefits, Dosage, Side Effects, Drug Interactions, and Other Important Information

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Calcium is essential in several physiological functions in maintaining overall health and wellness. The nature and physiological importance of calcium, as well as its health advantages, ideal dosage, possible side effects, drug interactions, and recommended supplementing methods, are all covered in this article.

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The Nature of Calcium

The fifth most prevalent element in the planet’s crust is the divalent cation calcium, an alkaline earth metal. It has two stable isotopes, 40 Ca and 44 Ca, and an atomic number of 20. In the human body, 99% of the calcium is stored externally in the bones and teeth. The remaining 1% is dispersed across cells, extracellular fluid, and blood. This little portion is crucial for many biological processes. Although it is considerably lower than the external concentration, the concentration of calcium inside cells is carefully controlled by ion channels, pumps, and binding proteins, highlighting its key function in physiological processes.

Blood cells.

Health Benefits of Calcium

Beyond maintaining bone health, calcium is involved in many other processes. It is essential for muscular contraction because it makes it easier for the protein fibers that control muscle movement, actin and myosin, to connect.

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Calcium helps the nervous system’s synaptic connections release neurotransmitters, which speed up the transmission of nerve impulses. It performs the function of a secondary messenger inside cells, converting outside impulses into a range of cellular reactions.

In addition, calcium contributes significantly to the coagulation cascade by acting as a cofactor for multiple clotting components. As a result, a calcium deficit might impede blood coagulation, thus raising the risk of severe bleeding.

Recent studies point to possible functions for calcium in controlling blood pressure and maintaining healthy body weight. For definitive proof, additional research is needed in these areas.

A lady doing exercise.

Chemical Perspective of Calcium

The human body, particularly in the skeletal system, contains a divalent cation known as calcium.  Two stable isotopes, 40Ca and 44Ca, define calcium’s biology in which 40Ca is more plentiful comparatively. With an atomic number of 20, calcium is a member of the periodic table’s Group 2 (alkaline earth metals).

As stated, about 99% of the calcium in the body is found in bones and teeth, with the remaining 1% found in blood, extracellular fluid, and cells. Although significantly lower than extracellular calcium concentration, intracellular calcium is essential for a variety of cellular processes. Calcium plays a crucial role in physiological processes and is strictly controlled by ion channels, pumps, and binding proteins in cells.

Healthy teeth.

Physiological Mechanisms of Action of Calcium

Numerous bodily processes, such as muscular contraction, neurotransmitter release, blood clotting, and maintaining cell membrane potential, use calcium. Additionally, it is crucial for the mineralization of bones, which supports skeletal health.

Calcium ions (Ca2+) function intracellularly as a secondary messenger, facilitating a range of cellular reactions to outside inputs. Neurotransmitters are released at synaptic connections in neurons due to, calcium influx, which speeds up the propagation of nerve impulses. Aside from that, calcium is essential for the interaction between actin and myosin during muscle contraction.

As previously mentioned, calcium also acts as a cofactor for numerous clotting factors. An increased risk of excessive bleeding may result from decreased blood coagulation caused by a calcium deficit.

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Optimal Dosage of Calcium

With respect to calcium, the recommended dietary intake (RDA) varies with age, sex, and stage of life. The RDA for adults between 19 to 70 years old is 1,000 mg/day while for women and adults aged 70 and older, the RDA is 1,200 mg/day.

Side Effects of Calcium

While calcium is essential for health, consuming too much of it may have unfavorable consequences such as constipation, kidney stones, and a reduced ability to absorb other minerals like iron and zinc. Although research in this area is underway and no clear proof has been developed, long-term excessive calcium consumption may cause renal impairment and may raise the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Kidney pain due to stones.

Potential Substance Interactions with Calcium

Numerous chemicals and calcium may interact, changing the effectiveness or rate of absorption. For instance, calcium may reduce the absorption of ciprofloxacin, tetracycline, and bisphosphonates. The absorption of thyroid hormones may also be hampered. Therefore, it’s crucial to take these interactions into account when using calcium supplements together with other drugs.

Responsible Use of Calcium Supplements

Diet is the greatest way to get the calcium you need, with supplements as a fallback if your diet isn’t providing enough. The best calcium sources include dairy products, cruciferous vegetables, and fortified meals. People who take supplements should do so under the direction of a healthcare expert, taking into account any drug interactions and making sure consumption remains within advised limits.

Calcium:

Conclusion

In conclusion, calcium supplements are a great option to be considered for maintaining overall health and wellness. Calcium can ensure bone health and protect blood coagulation. Since calcium plays a role in maintaining muscle contraction, it is also essential for good muscle health. Adequate calcium intake is important for children and older adults that may have higher needs. However, you need to consult a medical practitioner before beginning any supplement regimen. Overdose of calcium might result in unwanted side effects including constipation and kidney stones. Additionally, it is recommended to choose supplements from reputable sellers that produce high-quality products.

References:

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  1. “Calcium: Fact Sheet for Health Professionals.” National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements. Retrieved From: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Calcium-HealthProfessional/
  2. “Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D.” National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Retrieved From: http://www.nationalacademies.org/hmd/Reports/2010/Dietary-Reference-Intakes-for-Calcium-and-Vitamin-D.aspx
  3. “Health Benefits and Demerits of Calcium Nutrition or Supplementation in Older People.” Retrieved from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26536675/#:~:text=The%20benefit%20of%20calcium%20nutrition,mild%20risk%20reduction%20of%20fracture.

Important Note: The information contained in this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be construed as health or medical advice, nor is it intended to diagnose, prevent, treat, or cure any disease or health condition. Before embarking on any diet, fitness regimen, or program of nutritional supplementation, it is advisable to consult your healthcare professional in order to determine its safety and probable efficacy in terms of your individual state of health.

Regarding Nutritional Supplements Or Other Non-Prescription Health Products: If any nutritional supplements or other non-prescription health products are mentioned in the foregoing article, any claims or statements made about them have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and such nutritional supplements or other health products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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