Are You Getting Enough Calcium?

January 15, 2015 Updated: January 14, 2015

We all grew up hearing that calcium and milk products were essential for healthy bones and teeth.

Now, one in two women over the age of fifty will break a bone because of osteoporosis! It’s only reasonable to wonder: Am I getting enough calcium?

Discover the benefits of calcium, the symptoms of calcium deficiency, how to get calcium into your body from typical and vegetarian sources and how to keep it in.

Benefits and Facts of Calcium

  • It is the most abundant mineral in the body.
  • 99 percent of your calcium is in your bones. Calcium is essential for healthy bones and teeth.
  • Your body uses your bones as a calcium storehouse, withdrawing it through your bloodstream when it’s needed for other parts of the body.
  • Other parts of the body that use calcium include nerves, brain, muscles and heart.
  • Calcium is necessary for specific hormone functions.
  • Calcium is a co-enzyme necessary for clotting.
  • Many plants have more calcium per gram than any animal product –- including milk.
  • Even fruits like the common orange and kiwi, along with their many health benefits, contain calcium.

Symptoms of Calcium Deficiency

  • Muscle cramping–-especially at night.
  • Dry skin and brittle nails.
  • Increased PMS symptoms.
  • Bone fracture or breakage. This is a severe symptom, but unfortunately, for many people, it is the first way they find out that they have weak or thin bones.
(Shutterstock*)
(Shutterstock*)

 

How Much Calcium Do You Need?

Government recommendations are 1,000 mg per day for women 19-50, 1,300 for boys and girls 9-18 and 1,200 for older men and women.

Growing children certainly do have higher needs for calcium, but before you go rushing out to buy calcium supplements or a jug of milk, consider these facts:

  • In China, where for thousands of years they didn’t even have a word for osteoporosis, the average peasant farmer lives a very healthy life with just 250 mgs/day of calcium.
  • Northern countries that have the highest levels of calcium consumption from dairy products have the highest levels of osteoporosis.
  • One Harvard study tracking 78,000 nurses found that nurses who drank 2 or more glasses of milk per day had 46% higher chance of hip fracture than those who drank one glass or less.
  • Standard calcium supplements (from elemental sources like limestone) have been linked with higher rates of heart attacks.
  • Many studies have shown that taking calcium supplements has no effect on fracture occurrence.
  • Individuals whose protein is mostly animal based have twenty times or more hip fractures as individuals who consume a more plant based protein.