How Calcium Deficiency Affects Your Bones

How Calcium Deficiency Affects Your Bones 1024 576 Community Clinical Pharmacy

How to Address Low Calcium Levels Through Diet & Supplementation

Low calcium levels can lead to osteopenia (slight bone loss) and osteoporosis (severe bone loss).

How Much Calcium is Needed in Our Diet?

Only about 30% of women in the US get enough calcium from their diet alone. For women over 51 years of age and men aged 70+, the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) increases from 1000 mg per day to 1200 mg daily.

One must make a conscious effort to consume enough calcium-rich foods to meet the required amount. For example, an 8-ounce cup of low-fat plain yogurt contains 415 mg of calcium. Fortified orange juice, cheeses, sardines (with bones), kale, and chia seeds are among other dietary sources of calcium.

Addressing Deficiencies in Calcium Levels

It is a good idea to calculate how much calcium you get from your foods and make up the deficit by taking the right calcium supplement. The two most popular and widely available forms are calcium carbonate and calcium citrate.

Calcium carbonate contains 40% elemental calcium and requires stomach acid to be absorbed by the body, therefore it should be taken with food.

Calcium citrate, on the other hand, can be taken with or without food. Calcium citrate has 21% elemental calcium but is more readily absorbed.

Calcium gluconate, lactate, or phosphate are also available, but they generally contain less absorbable calcium.

Dicalcium Malate is one of the best forms of calcium (e.g., Osteoforce by Designs for Health).

Another important factor in taking calcium is the amount of calcium your body can absorb. Studies show that the body can only absorb 500 mg of calcium at a time. Therefore, it is best to divide the dose of your calcium supplement. For example, if you’re taking 1000 mg of supplemental calcium, it is better to take 500 mg two times a day to optimize absorption.

Other Ingredients That Are Recommended to Be Present in a Calcium Supplement

Vitamin D – The sunshine nutrient, vitamin D, is necessary for calcium absorption and helps with bone turnover

Magnesium – Based on clinical data, magnesium (Mg) can contribute to bone formation. It is best to keep a 2:1 calcium to magnesium ratio since too much Mg seems to have negative effects on the bone

Vitamin K – Vitamin K is important for calcium to work better. Low vitamin K levels are associated with low bone mineral density and increased fractures

Vitamin C is critical in maintaining the balance necessary for healthy bone mass and is also required for the synthesis of healthy collagen, the primary structural protein in bones.

Zinc – Zinc helps to increase bone formation and mineralization

Copper – Copper helps keep bones flexible and strong

Manganese – Manganese is essential in forming the bone matrix. Calcium and other minerals are then deposited into the matrix

Potassium – Studies have shown that, in older women, potassium intake has a positive correlation with bone health

Boron – Boron and calcium work together to strengthen bones

Considerations When Taking Calcium Supplements

Side Effects – While taking calcium supplements, side effects including gas, constipation, and bloating may occur. In general, calcium carbonate is the most constipating. You may need to try a few different brands or types of calcium supplements to find one that you tolerate the best. 

Interactions – Calcium supplements can interact with many prescription medications, such as thyroid hormones, some blood pressure medications, antibiotics, and calcium channel blockers. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about possible interactions and which type of calcium supplement would work for you.

Supplement Form – Calcium supplements come in a variety of forms, including tablets, capsules, chews, liquids, and powders. If you have trouble swallowing pills, you may want a chewable or liquid calcium supplement.

At Community Clinical Pharmacy, we carry a variety of supplements, some of which are not available in large retail stores or online. Please ask one of our expert pharmacists to assist you in selecting a calcium supplement that is right for you. Contact Community Clinical Pharmacy today.

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We serve the East Valley Metro Area including Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert, and surrounding areas.

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