Warning: Don’t Take Calcium Supplements. Here’s Why!

When you were a kid, your parents probably encouraged you to drink milk and told you it would help keep your bones strong.

However, in adulthood, we’re more inclined to take a calcium supplement instead of reaching for several glasses of milk to meet our calcium needs.

No matter the way you choose to meet your calcium needs, getting sufficient amounts of this pivotal nutrient is a great decision, especially if you’re a woman. 

This is because women have a higher likelihood of developing osteoporosis than men. This condition causes fragile and weak bones and increases the risk of fractures. 

However, before you decide to introduce calcium supplements into your diet, make sure you’re doing it the right way. In fact, did you know that some calcium supplements may not be helping your bones at all? 

And, they may even increase your risk of certain health issues!

Best Calcium Supplement: None? 

According to Erin Michos, associated director of preventive cardiology at the Ciccarone Center for Prevention of Heart Disease, it’s vital to keep the bones strong and prevent fractures as we age.

However, Michos emphasizes that supplementation isn’t the only way to do this. He notes that nutrients in pill form aren’t processed in the same way they are when you get them from food. 

He also emphasizes that the research on whether calcium supplements contribute to stronger bones is inconclusive.  What’s more, there’s an increasing number of scientific studies noting that there are some side effects associated with calcium supplements. 

Possible Issues Associated with Calcium Supplements 

  • Don’t prevent hip fractures 

Several studies have concluded that there are no advantages to taking calcium supplements as a means to avert hip fractures. 

On the other hand, these supplements have been associated with a higher risk of colon polyps. These are small growths in the large intestine that have a high risk of becoming cancerous as well as kidney stones. 

These hard masses are formed in the kidneys from the accumulation of calcium and other substances.

  • May contribute to heart problems 

In a study done in 2016 by Michos and his team, supplements with calcium may elevate the chances of calcium buildup in the arteries of the heart. 

Michos emphasizes that the body is unable to process more than 500 milligrams of calcium at a time. 

So if we take bigger doses, the calcium levels in the blood may lead to blood clots or deposition of calcium in the arterial walls that could increase the risk of narrower blood vessels. 

A Safer Way to Meet Your Calcium Needs 

Meeting your calcium needs through your diet is possible. This allows you to take the nutrient in smaller amounts throughout the whole day.

In this way, you’re consuming it with other food sources and improving nutrient absorption. The RDA for women aged 19 to 50 is 1000 milligrams per day and the RDA for women over 50 is 1200 milligrams daily. 

Some of the best sources of calcium are oranges, almonds, dried figs, soybeans, garbanzo (white and pinto beans), low-fat dairy products like yogurt and milk, and leafy greens like spinach and kale. 

Another way to boost your bone health and strength is by exercising regularly. You can introduce walking, weight training, and jogging to decrease the risk of bone loss. 

Research notes that women who spend sitting for more than nine hours per day have a 50 percent higher risk of hip fractures than more active females. 

However, before you start doing anything, whether supplements or increasing your physical activity, consult your physician first to ensure you’re choosing the best and safest option for you!