Calcium is one of the most important minerals in the body, and it is also the most abundant. Most people know calcium and magnesium to build strong teeth and bones, but it also plays a crucial role in muscle and blood vessel function, functioning of the nervous system and it helps the heart muscle to function properly. Because calcium is so important, the body will do everything in its power to obtain it. If you are not getting enough calcium from your diet, the body will extract it from your teeth and bones. The body’s ability to absorb calcium also declines as we age. This means our bones begin to weaken and can lead to osteoporosis. This is why supplementation becomes even more critical – especially for women. It is also critical to understand acidity, when taking calcium supplements. Most foods are acid forming and the body needs an alkaline environment to perform optimally. If the body is too acidic, you will not be able to optimally absorb the nutrients from food and supplementation.

There are different forms of calcium and magnesium used in supplements, of which the quality and body’s ability to absorb these vary dramatically. It is important to look for a quality calcium supplement that is more bioavailable, rather than for quantity of calcium contained.

It’s all about Absorption

Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxer. It counteracts the effects of calcium, a muscle contractor, and it is therefore critical to take a supplement of 3 parts of magnesium to 4 parts of calcium.

When choosing a calcium supplement, it is important to look for ingredients that enhance calcium absorption, as this is one of the major challenges the body faces. We do not get adequate amounts of calcium through our diets, and therefore need supplements to aid in the supply and optimal absorption of this calcium. Our diets are also shown to be lacking in magnesium, so a calcium supplement with more magnesium compensates for this deficiency. It is also critical to understand acidity, when taking calcium supplements. Most foods are acid forming and the body needs an alkaline environment to perform optimally. If the body is too acidic, you will not be able to optimally absorb the nutrients from food and supplementation. 

Did you know that Vitamin D3 is the only vitamin that the body is able to manufacture? Vitamin D3, gained from sunlight is absorbed into the body. Unfortunately due to the high risk of skin cancer from sun exposure, most people avoid the sun, thereby reducing their Vitamin D3 intake, which is crucial for calcium absorption and bone growth.

Quality vs. Quantity

There are different forms of calcium and magnesium used in supplements, of which the quality and body’s ability to absorb these vary dramatically. It is important to look for a quality calcium supplement that is more bioavailable, rather than for the quantity of calcium contained. The most common forms of calcium used in supplements is calcium carbonate and to a lesser extent calcium citrate. Calcium carbonate is combined with carbonic acid to form calcium carbonate. This form of calcium needs adequate amounts of stomach acid to be absorbed. Calcium citrate is combined with citric acid and doesn’t need stomach acid to be absorbed. Many people battle with the correct amount and quality of stomach acid to properly digest and absorb food. This occurs as a result of our modern day diets, illness, medication and as we age, our stomach’s ability to produce acid declines, which leads to poor absorption of nutrients. A good probiotic aids in healing the stomach and digestive tract, enhancing the absorption of vitamins and minerals. The amount of calcium and magnesium you get from a supplement depends on the elemental value of the mineral. Calcium carbonate contains 40% elemental calcium, and citrate contains 21%. At a glance, it may seem that the carbonate form is a better option, but the absorption benefits when taking the citrate form massively outweighs that of the carbonate form. People can easily overdose on calcium carbonate that can again lead to calcification of arteries and other health problems.

 

 
Disclaimer
I’m not a doctor. I don’t even play one on TV. Consider the information on this site a useful resource, but talk with your doctor if you’re thinking of changing treatments, altering your current treatment, or doing any other medical-related stuff. In the end, how you treat your aches and pains are between you and someone with an MD after their name.
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