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Calcium - Nutritional Health Information

Calcium Complex Calcium Complex Hydoxyapatite Calcium is the microcrystalline form of calcium and phosphorus in the exact ratio formed by the body. Potassium, Magnesium, Boron, Zinc, Silica, and Chromium are also included in this powerful product. In addition, our calcium complex also contains proteoglycans, primarily chondroitin (chondroitin sulfate), gel-like substances that fill the bone matrix and transfer minerals in and out of bone tissue.

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body. The average male has about three pounds of calcium, the average female, about 2 pounds. Most (99%) of calcium is found in bones and teeth (National Research Council, 1989; Whitney et al, 1996) with the remaining 1 % in the soft tissues and watery parts of the body where calcium helps to regulate normal processes of the body (Whitney et al, 1996).

There are two types of calcium. One type of calcium is tightly bound within the bone and the other more accessible type of calcium is found on the bone. The skeleton serves as a bank of minerals for the body. The body can borrow from the skeletal stores when blood calcium levels drop and return calcium to bones as needed.

A constant supply of calcium is necessary throughout our lifetime, but is especially important during phases of growth, pregnancy, and lactation (breast feeding). About 10-40% of dietary calcium is absorbed in the small intestine with the help of vitamin D (Somer, 1995; Mahan et al, 1996). The level of calcium absorption from dietary sources drops to 7 in post-menopausal women (Sourer, 1995). The body will absorb more calcium if there is a deficiency. Factors that improve calcium absorption include adequate amounts of protein, magnesium, phosphorous, and vitamin D. Conditions that reduce calcium absorption include high or excessive intakes of oxalates and phytates, found in foods such as spinach and unleavened whole wheat products. Consumption of alcohol, coffee, sugar, or medications such as diuretics, tetracycline, aluminum containing antacids, or stress can reduce absorption of calcium. Lack of exercise can reduce calcium absorption as well as cause an increase in calcium losses. These life habits can immobility lead to calcium deficiency. Calcium deficiency can increase risk of bone disorders such as osteoporosis.

Calcium Functions

(Sourer, 1995; Whitney et al, 1996; Sizer et al, 1997)

Calcium Deficiency

(Sourer, 1995, McCarron et al, 1987; McCarron et al, 1991)

Calcium: RDAs

Calcium Dietary Reference Intakes (1998)

Calcium Dietary Sources

Milk and milk products, such as low-fat and non-fat cheese, cottage cheese, and yogurt, are sources of calcium. Lactose (sugar found in milk products), aids in calcium absorption in infants, but probably is not required in adults (Mahan et al, 1996). Other sources of calcium include dark green leafy vegetables, spinach, kale, turnip greens, cabbage, collard, mustard, seaweeds, alfalfa, broccoli, canned fish (especially sardines, clams, oysters, and salmon) with bones, and cooked dried beans and peas. Consumption of alcohol, coffee, sugar, or medications such as diuretics, tetracycline, aluminum containing antacids, or stress can reduce absorption. Lack of exercise and immohility can reduce calcium absorption as well as cause an increase in calcium losses.

Lactose intolerant people or those allergic to cow's milk and dairy products can get an adequate supply of calcium from dry green leafy vegetables.

Calcium Toxicity

Very large doses (several grams) of calcium may cause blood calcium levels to rise and lead to calcium deposits in soft tissue, such as the heart and kidney (Somer, 1995).

Large intakes of calcium may reduce zinc and iron absorption and impair vitamin K metabolism (Somer, 1995; Gregor, 1988).

Very high blood levels of calcium can cause heart or lung failure. Calcium ascorbate or calcium citrate are safe, less toxic sources than those from oyster shell (Whiting, 1994).

Calcium-citrate-malate is a well-absorbed form of supplementary calcium (Smith , 1987).

Calcium from oyster shell may have lead levels that exceed the amount considered safe for children.

Calcium Research Results

Complementary Recommendations
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Recommended Dietary Allowances. Subcommittee on the Tenth Edition of the RDAs Food and Nutrition Board Commission on Life Sciences. National Research Council:,10th edition, Washington, DC: National Academy Press; 1989a;174-184.

Whitney EN, Rolfes SR. Water and the Major Minerals. In: Understanding Nutrition. Seventh Edition, St. Paul, MN: West Publishing Company; 1996; 448-454.

Somer E. Minerals. In: The Essential Guide to Vitamins and Minerals, New York, NY Harper Perennial: New; 1995; 89-94.

Mahan LK and Escott-Stump S. Minerals: In: Krause's Food, Nutrition and Diet Therapy, 9th edition, Philadelphia, PA. WB. Saunders Company, 1996; 124-130.

Sizer F and Whitney E. Water and Minerals In: Nutrition Concepts and Controversies 7th edition. Belmont, CA;Wadsworth Publishing Co;1997;292-295. McCarron D, Morris C, Bukoski R. 1987. "The calcium paradox of essential hypertension." Am J Med 82:27-33.

McCarron K, Reusser M. 1991. "The integrated effects of electrolytes on blood pressure." Nutr Rep 9:57,62,64.

Recommended Dietary Allowances. Subcommittee o~ the Tenth Edition of the RDAs. Food and Nutrition Board Commission on Life Sciences. National Research Council:, 10th edition, Washington, DC: National Academy Press: Summary Table, 1989.

Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI), Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board, based on Adequate Intakes (AI) National Academy of Sciences, National Academy Press:Washington, D.C. 1998.

Gregor JL. "Effect of variations in dietary protein, phosphorous, electrolytes and vitamin D on calcium and zinc metabolism." In CE Bodwell and JW Erdman, Jr., eds. Nutrient Interactions. New York, NYMarcel Dekker, Inc; 1988.

Whiting S. 1994. "Safety of some calcium supplements questioned." Nutr Rev 52;95-97.

Smith KT 1987. "Calcium absorption from a new calcium delivery system (CCM)." Calcif Tissue Int. 41(6):3 51-2.

Compilation of research courtesy of Dr. Larry J. Milam, DHM, and the University of Natural Medicine, Santa Fe, NM.