Calcium is an alkaline earth metal that is used in mineralization of teeth and bones. Calcium is essential for all living organisms. Calcium supplements are often suggested to prevent or treat low blood calcium levels in people who do not get enough calcium from their diet. But, calcium supplements have a negative impact on the body and its suggested that we should increase our calcium intake through a whole-food diet alone.
These two published data analysis report that calcium supplements do not protect our bones from fractures, it can actually increase them.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a study in 2007, stating that calcium supplements may actually increase the amount of hip fractures, apposed to reducing fracture rates as it suggests.
Research published in 2012, of the analysis of NHANES data, found calcium supplements that offer a higher dose than the recommended daily allowance, did not increase the mineral density of the vertebral bones.
Why We Should NOT Take Calcium Supplements
When taking supplemental calcium, our bodies are exposed to the high dose quickly. This doesn’t allow our bodies to absorb the calcium into our bones, but rather passes through our urine (increasing kidney stones), or it is circulated within our blood, facilitating artery calcification.
Our heart health is at risk according to JAMA Internal Medicine: 12,000 men that were taking over 1,000 mg of calcium supplements per day showed an increase risk of death of 20%.
Dr. Ian Reid, a professor of medicine and endocrinology, who is also an author had this to say about a recent study:
“This study provides confirmatory evidence that calcium taken as supplements appears to increase the risk of heart attacks; whereas having a diet that has some calcium-rich foods doesn’t seem to confer the same risk,” he said. “Most people should not be taking calcium supplements,” he said. “You should get the calcium you need from your diet rather than taking supplements.”
Not only are we putting our heart health at risk with calcium supplements but the National Institutes of Health associated it with an elevated risk of prostate cancer.
A Swedish study reported an alarming risk of death, at 157% higher for women that take 1900 mg of calcium supplements daily, compared to 40% increased risk of women that take a moderate dose supplemental dose of 600-1000 mg daily.
600 milligrams of whole-food calcium daily is adequate to maintain healthy levels of calcium in the body. This is the equivalent to two servings of bone-in fish. Other great sources of calcium are: Milk from grass-fed goats (organic and unpasteurized), cheese made from grass-fed animal milk, yogurt made from grass-fed animal milk, sunflower seeds, spinach, kale, figs and almonds. When we ingest calcium with a whole-food diet, our bodies absorb the calcium at a slower rate and we are able to effectively utilize the calcium.
The addition of Vitamin D and Vitamin K2 to our diet are essential to regulate calcium metabolism. Magnesium is supportive of bone health as well.
It is possible and recommended to support your bone health with these vitamins and minerals through your whole-food diet, because research shows calcium supplements do more harm than good.
Ask a doctor or pharmacist if it is safe for you to take this medicine if you have kidney disease, past or present kidney stones, heart disease, circulation problems, a parathyroid disorder, or if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
Avoid taking any other vitamin or mineral supplements that contain calcium or vitamin D without first talking to your doctor.
Ask a doctor or pharmacist if it is safe for you to take this medicine if you have:
- kidney disease;
- past or present kidney stones;
- heart disease;
- high levels of calcium in your blood;
- circulation problems; or
- a parathyroid gland disorder.
Do not take calcium and vitamin D without your doctor’s advice if you are pregnant or breast-feeding a baby. Your dose needs may be different during this time.
Calcium supplement side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have signs of too much calcium in your body, such as:
- stomach pain, vomiting, loss of appetite;
- increased thirst or urination;
- muscle pain or weakness, joint pain; or
- confusion, and feeling tired or restless.
Common side effects may include:
- an irregular heartbeat;
- nausea, constipation;
- weakness, drowsiness, headache;
- dry mouth, or a metallic taste in your mouth; or
- muscle or bone pain.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.