Calcium Supplements

Written by Gregg Ruais
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Studies show that most Americans receive insufficient calcium from the foods they eat each day. People lose calcium through sweat, urine, hair and fingernail growth. Unless the lost calcium is replenished, the body takes what it needs from people's bones. Calcium supplements are a suitable replacement for foods that contain calcium. The body processes calcium powder or pills as it would the calcium from milk, although milk contains other nutrients.

Many calcium supplements come with other nutrients as well. Popular combinations include calcium and magnesium, calcium and potassium, or all three minerals together. Unless taken with vitamin C or as calcium nitrate, people should avoid taking calcium and iron together. Calcium actually inhibits the body's ability to absorb iron.

Taking Calcium Supplements

Most medical journals say adults should consume between 1,000 and 1,200 mg of calcium each day. For best results, people should take calcium in intervals of 500 mg. This facilitates proper absorption. However, it is not unhealthy to take all 1,000 mg at once.

Some calcium supplements may cause side effects like gas or constipation. People who experience these symptoms should try eating or drinking more before taking the supplements. Fiber commonly helps these problems. Because people's bodies may not be accustomed to high doses of calcium, some studies say people should start off by taking only 500 mg per day. After that, they can gradually increase their dosages until they reach 1,000 mg per day.

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