Fast Facts


Calcium

• Not only is calcium important for bones--but also for maintaining overall good health.  It plays a critical role in nerve transmission, heart function, blood-pressure regulation, muscle contraction, blood clotting and other body processes. 

• Each day, we lose calcium through our skin, nails, hair, sweat, urine and feces. When there is not enough calcium for body processes, the blood will “rob” the bones of calcium.  This is why it is important to take calcium and vitamin D everyday.

• 99% of the body’s calcium is stored in the bones and teeth.

• Women who are over 50 years of age need additional calcium in their diet as calcium absorption decreases with age.
            -Calcium requirements increase with menopause.
            -Low estrogen levels lead to an increase in bone resorption and a decrease in the
             efficiency of intestinal calcium absorption.
            -By age 65, calcium absorption is 50% of adolescent absorption levels.

• Dairy products, such as milk, yogurt and cheese are high in calcium.  For people who have trouble digesting dairy products because of lactose intolerance, lactose-free dairy products and lactase enzyme pills are available.  If calcium supplements are taken, they need to be lactose-free.

 

Vitamin D

• Our body requires vitamin D to absorb calcium.  Children need vitamin D to build strong bones, and adults need it to keep bones strong and healthy.

• When people do not get enough vitamin D, they can lose bone. Vitamin D increases bone strength by increasing the calcium that is absorbed through the intestines, increasing osteoclast (bone building) numbers, maintaining phosphate and calcium levels, and helping the parathyroid hormone to maintain calcium levels.  Studies show that people with low levels of vitamin D have lower bone density or bone mass.  They are also more likely to break bones when they are older.

• Severe vitamin D deficiency can cause ostemalacia.  In children, this is known as rickets.

• There are three ways to get vitamin D
            -Sunlight
            -Food
            -Supplements and medications

• Vitamin D is naturally available in only a few foods.  It is very difficult to get all the vitamin D we need from food.  Foods that have vitamin D include fatty fish (examples are wild-caught mackerel, salmon and tuna).
         
• Known as the “sunshine vitamin”, Vitamin D can be manufactured by our body in the presence of sunlight.  Unfortunately, in North America, our days of “usable” sunlight are limited to summer months. Also, an SPF of 7 or greater, prevents our body’s from manufacturing vitamin D.  It is important to obtain vitamin D from either diet or supplements.

• Calcia has been clinically proven to reduce the risk of fracture by 22%.

• Calcia is clinically proven to increase bone density.

• Calcia has been shown to reduce the risk of multiple falls in the elderly.

 

Why do I need to take calcium a few hours before or after other meds?

• Calcium can affect the absorption of other medications (ie iron). It is important to separate their intake so that optimal benefit is received from all medications.

 

What is the difference between a citrate and carbonate?

• A carbonate provides 40% Elemental Calcium or “useable calcium” from the total calcium. (1250 mg of Calcium carbonate = 500mg of Elemental calcium).

• A citrate provides 21% Elemental Calcium or “useable calcium” from the total calcium. (1250mg of Calcium citrate = 262 mg of Elemental calcium).

• Basically, you will require more of a citrate to obtain the same amount of elemental calcium from a carbonate.

• Both calcium salts have slightly better absorption when ingested with food. A chewable table tends to have better absorption as it is easier for the gut to break down.