Is there Such a thing as too Much Calcium?


Calcium
is arguably one of the most important minerals in the body. It is responsible
for the strength of your bones, and your bones in turn are responsible for
supporting and protecting your entire body, internal organs and muscles.
Studies have been done that look at the consumption of calcium and what the
effects of deficiency are (osteoporosis and brittle bones) but less of a
spotlight is shone on situations in which people get too much calcium – whether
it’s through diet or supplements.

There
are various upper limits for calcium consumption depending on your age and sex,
and these are listed here for your reference:

Life Stage                             Upper Limit

Birth to 6 months              
                  1,000 mg

Infants 7–12 months                
                          1,500 mg

Children 1–8 years                                              2,500 mg

Children 9–18 years                
                           3,000 mg

Adults 19–50 years                 
                           2,500 mg

Adults 51 years and older         
                        2,000 mg

Pregnant and breastfeeding teens   3,000
mg

Pregnant and breastfeeding adults  2,500
mg

In
order to reach these sorts of upper limits, you would need to be drinking down
ten glasses of milk a day (at approximately 300 mg a glass) and so it can be
pretty safe to say that most people don’t get above the upper limits through
food consumption alone – the excess has to come from supplement use. Taking
products like
calcium supplements made from algae
can be a highly effective way of topping up the gap of your calcium deficiency
if you have one, and using 
supplements
only as directed is a vital part of safe supplement taking. It’s always best to
consult your healthcare provider before beginning on a course of supplements or
when adding a supplement to your daily diet.

Some
older women in the United States would be close to exceeding the upper limits,
as supplement use is prevalent in this demographic, so let’s take a look at
what the effect of ‘too much calcium’ can be on the body.

It’s
widely understood that consuming too much calcium causes constipation, and
having too much calcium has previously been found to possibly impact on the
body’s ability to absorb iron and zinc, but this is not substantiated widely.
There is some speculation as well from the science world that too much calcium
from supplements only (not from food) may increase the risk of developing
kidney stones, but this causality is not entirely proven either.

There
are other interactions that come from taking calcium supplements, as it has
been shown that calcium dietary supplements can interfere with 
certain
medications. Depending on the medication that you take, the medications may
raise or lower the levels of calcium in your body. Let’s take a look at some
examples of medications that can interfere with your calcium levels or that can
have their absorption affected by the presence of calcium supplements.

       
Bisphosphonates,
which are used to treat osteoporosis

       
Levothyroxine,
a product that is used to treat low thyroid activity

       
Antibiotics
of the fluoroquinolone and tetracycline families

       
Phenytoin,
a drug that works as an anticonvulsant

       
Tiludronate
disodium, a product used to treat Paget’s disease

       
Stimulant
laxatives and mineral oil reduce the level of calcium absorption

       
Antacids
with aluminium or magnesium work to increase calcium loss through your urine


 If
you are taking any of these medications, or if you are considering starting
taking a calcium supplement, then it is important for your health that you get
in touch with your healthcare professional for their advice and for information
about potentially conflicting drug interactions. Your healthcare provider can
provide you with expert advice about the interactions, benefits, risks and
other related information that you need to consider when you’re thinking of
adding a calcium supplement to your diet.
 

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