Calcium is the most abundant mineral and fifth most abundant element found in the human body. In this article, we’ll discuss calcium’s role in bone health, detail the other pivotal functions it facilitates and explain the age-related decline of calcium. In addition, we will list foods that are natural sources of calcium and explain the benefits and function of calcium supplementation.
The Function of Calcium in Your BodySpeaking about the function of calcium, calcium is vital to keeping bones strong and teeth healthy. That 99% of calcium found in bones and teeth is responsible for maintaining bone strength and growing new bone. But, let’s discuss the functions of that other 1%, the calcium found in your cells and blood:
- Muscle cells need calcium to contract
- Cardiac cells use calcium to keep your heart in rhythm
- Plays a Role in regulating blood pressure
- Nerve cells utilize calcium to send messages to and from the brain
- Blood cells require calcium for clotting
- Maintaining a healthy body weight
Age-Related Decline of CalciumThe build-up of calcium in the body begins in the third trimester of pregnancy and continues through early adulthood. After that, like so many other systems in the body, such as hormones, VO2 Max, skeletal muscle, etc. calcium begins to decline by about 1% per year. Senior citizens need to be particularly conscious about the level of calcium in their diet to combat osteoporosis.
Natural Sources of CalciumYogurt, milk, and cheese are excellent natural sources of calcium. In a recent University of Tennessee study, it appears dairy products, high in calcium, can be the way to lose more weight. “Although calories still count, the study showed that obese adults who ate a high-dairy diet lost significantly more weight and fat than those who ate a low-dairy diet containing the same number of calories.” “If you compare a dairy-rich versus a dairy-poor diet you can nearly double the rate of weight and fat loss with the same level of calorie restriction,” says researcher Michael Zemel, Ph.D., professor of nutrition and medicine at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.
For dairy alternatives, we suggest you try sardines, soy products (edamame and tofu). We also suggest kale, green leafy vegetables, sesame and sunflower seeds, and almonds. The RDA for calcium is 1,000 mg for adults under the age of fifty, and 1,200 mg for those over fifty. Many doctors will recommend exceeding the RDA with as much as 1,500 mg from food and supplements for those over fifty. The tolerable upper intake levels (UL) of a supplement are the highest amount that most people can take safely in a day. For calcium, it’s 2500 mg for adults 19-50 years, and 2000 mg for adults over the age of 51 years.
Supplementing CalciumFor the reasons cited above, calcium is one of the best-selling supplements in the U.S. As mentioned, adequate calcium intake may be one of the most important steps one can take to support your bone health. But, even if you eat a healthy, balanced diet, you may still find it difficult to consume your RDA of calcium. We believe the best, most efficacious form of calcium is coral calcium. To be specific, coral calcium from Okinawa, such as the Original, Barefoot Coral Calcium Complete™ from EffiHealth.
Coral calcium contains both calcium and magnesium in a biologically perfect 2:1 ratio. And, magnesium helps your body to use calcium more effectively. Coral calcium is better absorbed than the calcium carbonate used in many other calcium supplements. As with any supplement we highly recommend you use a product featuring transparency of ingredients, listing each ingredient and its actual dosage. For example, be sure your calcium supplement is delivering a full 1,500mg of coral calcium. You should check that it is also in the correct ratio to magnesium, with additional vitamin D3 and other essential vitamins and minerals.