Calcium plays an important role in muscle, heart and nerve health and is needed to build strong bones. Consuming too little calcium may increase your risk for osteoporosis and is therefore essential to consume a adequate amount of calcium.
Calcium can be found in a variety of foods such as:
- Dairy products (milk, yogurt and cheese)
- Dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach
- Calcium fortified products such as cereal, soya products and milk alternatives.
- Sardines and tinned salmon
Individuals at risk for calcium deficiency:
- Individuals following a vegan diet
- Individuals on long term corticosteroids
- If you have digestive problems that may lower the absorption of calcium such as inflammatory bowl disease (IBD)
- Individuals limiting dairy products such as with lactose intolerance
Dietary sources should be the main focus for calcium intake, but in some cases, such as with the above-mentioned risk groups, supplementation may be needed. It is recommended to consult with your health care practitioner to discuss the recommended calcium dosage if supplementation is required.
Look at the label of the calcium supplement. It is especially to look at how much elemental calcium the specific supplement contains because the elemental calcium is the actual amount of calcium that your body will absorb. There’s not always side effects present with calcium supplementation but some reported side effects include bloating, gas and constipation.
It is important to consult your health care provider before supplementing calcium as consuming more than the recommended daily allowance upper limit is not recommended.