How to Select the Best Calcium Supplement

Seafood for calcium
Not everyone eats enough high calcium foods.

If you are like most Americans, perhaps you need the best calcium supplement to make up for shortfalls in your diet. Calcium is an essential nutrient your body requires to build strong bones and teeth and support blood clotting and normal muscle activity.

The Importance of Calcium

Most of your body's calcium is stored in the bones. Your body treats its need for calcium in a unique way, taking it from your bones if your diet is calcium deficient. That is why it is important to get adequate calcium in order to prevent osteoporosis and reduce your risk of bone fractures. For women this is of special concern, especially after menopause.

While you may associate calcium strictly with your bones and teeth, it also benefits your nervous system. Calcium helps your body synthesize neurotransmitters, which are chemical substances that transfer nerve impulses. Nerves direct all the activity in your body, so supporting it with a calcium supplement is a wise strategy.

Considerations When Taking a Supplement

There is no doubt you will benefit from taking the best calcium supplement you can find. However, there are several things you need to be aware of, if you choose to add calcium to your nutritional supplements.

In order for your body to absorb calcium from your supplement, you must receive enough vitamin D. Vitamin D is easy enough to get by spending some time outdoors in the sunlight. Your body has a limited capacity for absorbing calcium at one given time. It is better to take a 500 milligram tablets two times a day instead of just once to meet your daily recommended dosage. Calcium your body cannot absorb is excreted in your feces and urine.

Potential Side Effects

You do not want to take a calcium supplement at the same time you take an antibiotic such as tetracycline or doxycycline since it may interfere with your body's ability to absorb these medications. Likewise, if you have pre-existing conditions such as parathyroid gland disease or kidney stones, you may want to consult with your doctor first before taking calcium.Calcium supplements are sold in different forms and different preparations. Avoid products made with calcium sources such as bone meal or dolomite as these supplements may also contain lead. If calcium gives you gas, switch to the digestive-friendly calcium citrate form and take it with food which is easier for your body to absorb.

As with any supplement, you want to follow label instructions correctly. The daily recommended dose is 1,000 milligrams a day for men and women under 50. If you are over 50, increase your dosage to 1,200 milligrams. Use caution if you take over the counter antacids which contain calcium or aluminum to prevent overdosing on calcium. Too much calcium in your diet can interfere with your body's ability to absorb zinc or iron. High doses can also cause kidney stones.

Best Calcium Supplement

The best calcium supplement will contain a combination of calcium with other essential vitamins or minerals so that you can receive additional health benefits. One such combination is calcium and magnesium. Both minerals can help relieve the symptoms of PMS, migraines, and high blood pressure, making them a powerful duo.The same precautions for taking a calcium only supplement apply. However, if you are taking thiazide diuretics or have kidney or heart disease, talk to your doctor first. It is always a good idea to share this type of information with your doctor to prevent any possible drug interactions or side effects.

Some combinations may also include vitamin D with calcium and magnesium. This helps to ensure calcium absorption while providing other benefits of vitamin D such as phosphorus absorption and protection against breast and colon cancers.

Your diet is your key to good health. Supplements such as calcium can help bridge the gap between a healthy diet and deficiencies. As with any supplement, take time to learn what they can do for you as well as potential side effects or drug interaction. A healthy lifestyle will put you on the road to wellness.

How to Select the Best Calcium Supplement