Calcium Supplementation – Is it Necessary?

Calcium Supplementation – Is it Necessary?

Do we need to supplement calcium or can we get it from foods? Can we take too much and how do we know what we need?

Calcium is a trace mineral which people often wonder if they are getting enough of. The dairy industry has hammered at us for years with the idea that we need milk for calcium, which is especially important for growing youngsters. It’s been their nutrient of choice to anchor in the idea that milk is an essential part of our diet.

You may be interested to hear that while most the calcium in your body is stored in the bones (99%), it actually plays an important role in the nervous system. It’s an electrolyte, meaning it carries an electrical charge and without it our nervous system will suffer.

Calcium Levels

If calcium is low for a long period of time you may experience dry skin, brittle nails, mental fog, muscle cramps, confusion, memory loss and even hallucinations! Such is its power on our nervous system.

And of course, a person with calcium deficiency is at high risk of a bone fracture as the body will pull calcium from the bones to protect the vital nervous system functions.

But here’s the rub. We can also have too much calcium which can lead to nausea, bloating, constipation, confusion, kidney stones and even death!

Calcium Ratios

What’s more, we want to have the right levels of calcium in relation to other minerals in the body. A balanced ratio of calcium to phosphorous (2.6:1) is needed to form bone correctly. When potassium is low relative to calcium thyroid hormone may not function properly. Also, a correct ratio of calcium to magnesium (7:1) is crucial for blood sugar balancing, as insulin release is stimulated by calcium and inhibited by magnesium.

Balancing Calcium

So clearly having the right levels of calcium is crucial for our health. We want balance, not too much and not too little. How can we achieve this?

For a start eating calcium-rich foods is a great way to increase calcium without running the risk of consuming too much. Dairy does contain high levels of calcium but I’d be concerned about the type of dairy consumed, as pasteurised dairy is pro-inflammatory and allergenic.

Goats Kefir is especially high in calcium and is an excellent food to nourish the microbiome. Whey protein is another excellent source and is generally less allergenic than regular dairy. Of course, if you can get your hands on raw diary then this is an excellent choice for most people too.

But you don’t have to be on dairy to get sufficient levels of calcium. Sardines are also an excellent source. If your looking for plant-based sources then beans, nuts, seeds and green leafy vegetables are your best bet.

Hair Mineral Analysis

Of course, you may just really want to know where you stand with your calcium levels and how they compare with other minerals in your body. The best way to do this is with a hair mineral test. This test examines the mineral content of a sample of hair which is the same as the tissues in the body. It gives an accurate account of your mineral status and is relatively inexpensive. It’s the ideal way to balance all the minerals in the body and improve many conditions. If you’re interested you can find out more by booking a 15 consultation for free by clicking on the button at the bottom of the page.

Any questions about calcium supplementation? Or anything you’d like to share? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.

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Ciaran Ryan

Nutritional Therapist at International Clinic of Nutrition
Dedicated to the pursuit of natural and lifestyle medicine, Ciaran is a qualified Nutritional Therapist. When not being a nerd about health and biochemistry Ciaran likes to go dancing and enjoys watching Japanese cartoons (a little too much).
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