Should You Take a Calcium Supplement?

Calcium Supplement

Many people take calcium supplements or enjoy calcium chews. After all, calcium helps build strong bones, and more is always better, right?

Not so fast. Studies continually show that calcium supplements are not helpful for preventing osteoporosis. Furthermore, new research suggests that even though a high intake of dietary calcium can lower the risk of developing coronary artery calcification (CAC), calcium supplementation may actually increase the risk. This is troubling because CAC has been directly linked to the development of cardiovascular disease.

To elaborate, the effects of dietary calcium, which is generally ingested in small amounts in combination with many other nutrients that are present in food, appear to be far different from those of supplemental calcium, which typically provides a large, unaccompanied calcium mass. Very little supplemental calcium is deposited into the bones; instead, much of it builds up in the lining of the blood vessels. The high serum levels of supplemental calcium can also contribute to blood clotting and other processes that promote the formation of fatty plaque in the arteries.

So, should you keep taking those supplements? To answer this and other health-related questions, your best source of information is always a doctor who is familiar with your medical history and health conditions. In general, most adults should get 1,000 milligrams of calcium (from all sources) every day, and that amount goes up with age. Specifically, women over 50 and men over 70 should get 1,200 milligrams per day.

If you think you need a supplement to boost your number, check with a doctor. With that said, many people are better served by enjoying calcium-rich foods, such as low-fat dairy products, leafy green vegetables, and fortified juices and cereals. In fact, within the medical community, it is undisputed that the best source of calcium for strong bones and overall health is diet, not supplements.

If you have questions about how to get enough dietary calcium or how to protect your bones and heart, contact or visit South Tampa Immediate Care. Our team of experienced medical professionals will be happy to help.