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Coral Calcium FAQ'S  

Calcium is an essential nutrient your body needs every day.  You may already know that it helps build and maintain healthy teeth and bones.  Calcium is key to keeping your body running smoothly.  Because your bones are made from calcium, if you do not get enough from your daily diet, your body will "steal" the calcium from your bones to make up the difference.  Over the long run this can reduce your bone strength and lead to osteoporosis, a potentially crippling disease of thin and fragile bones.

Osteoporosis can make your bones so weak, in fact, that they can break with a firm handshake. Because people often do not get enough calcium from their diets, osteoporosis is now a major health concern and one of our most common diseases, affecting over 28 million Americans.  To avoid this you can make smarter choices about what you eat.  Add calcium-rich foods such as low-fat dairy products and broccoli to your daily diet.  If you can’t get enough calcium from your diet, you can add a calcium supplement.

At what point in life do I need calcium? 
Your need for calcium starts even before you are born and extends throughout your lifetime.  However, most people today are consuming fewer dairy products and vegetables that are calcium-rich.   The most recent government survey of the eating habits of Americans confirms that most people are not getting enough calcium.  Teenagers, young women and post-menopausal women in particular are consuming far less than is healthy and less than their body's need.  On average, if you’re not drinking three glasses of milk per day, you’re not getting enough.

From birth until about age 18, bones are forming and growing. Calcium is essential to this process. That’s why breast milk and infant formulas are rich in calcium.  As children grow, it is equally important that their diet remain calcium-rich.  Unfortunately, the calcium intake of most Americans peaks at age eight.  During late adolescence, through young adulthood, adult bone is formed and reaches its maximum strength and density.  Bones continue to accumulate calcium and become stronger after we have stopped growing.  The calcium that you provide to your bones when you are young determines how well they will hold up later in life. By age 35 your bones are about as strong as they are ever going to be.

How can I increase my calcium intake? 
No-fat or low-fat dairy products provide the easiest, most plentiful sources of calcium in the diet.  Add broccoli, kale, and salmon, especially with the bones included, to your diet.  Many processed foods are now fortified with calcium, including fruit juices, snack foods and breakfast cereals. You might find the easiest way to get the daily calcium you need is to make changes in your diet and take a calcium supplement.

Are there any problems I might have taking calcium? 
It’s very difficult to get too much calcium. Any excess which the body cannot use is excreted from the body in the urine and stool. Daily consumption up to 2,500 mg has been shown to be safe.  If you experience constipation or gas from calcium, your body may be adjusting to the new levels of calcium. If this happens, try starting with a small amount and build gradually to an adequate daily amount.

Does calcium supplementation cause kidney stones? 
Additional calcium intake may actually lower your risk for kidney stones. The largest study ever conducted on calcium and kidney stones showed that daily calcium intake above 850 mg decreased the incidence of symptomatic kidney stones.  Reducing your intake of dietary oxalate, a substance found in wheat bran, rhubarb, beets and nuts may also lower your risk of stones.  The most important dietary factor in preventing kidney stones is water.  Drink plenty of fluids, but not soft drinks, to help lower your risk for stones.  Keep taking your calcium.  Restricting calcium intake could increase the risk of stones.

Should I take Vitamin D with a calcium supplement? 
Vitamin D helps your body absorb and use calcium.  Unlike calcium, however, vitamin D can be stored by the body for extended periods of time so it does not have to be taken with your calcium supplement.  Vitamin D is available from fortified dairy products, cod liver oil, fatty fish, and is manufactured by the body in reaction to sunlight.  Generally, about fifteen minutes of direct sunlight per day gives you the vitamin D you need. 

When should I take a calcium supplement? 
If you aren’t getting enough calcium from your diet, you need to take a calcium supplement every day with meals. Try to take your calcium supplement in divided doses throughout the day. The body can absorb only so much calcium at one time, so try taking your supplement with two or three of your meals each day.

Is there calcium in my multi-vitamins?
Maybe, but not much.  Even in the case of prenatal vitamins for pregnant women, the calcium content may not be enough to meet the daily demands of the mother and growing baby. A multi-vitamin may provide nutrients and vitamins that your body needs, but if your diet is low in calcium, you need to take a special calcium supplement.

Do antacids interfere with calcium absorption? 
No.  Although stomach acid is necessary for some forms of calcium to be absorbed into the body, antacids do not interfere with this process.  Calcium supplements taken with meals find enough stomach acid for full absorption. 

Does calcium help during childbearing? 
No matter what age a woman is when she becomes pregnant, calcium is very important to both the mother and the baby. Calcium from the mother’s body is used by the developing baby, putting increased demands on the mother’s supply. Additional calcium should be consumed for both the mother’s and baby’s health.  Based on an analysis published in the Journal of the American Medical Association there is evidence that increasing calcium intake can help maintain normal blood pressure in pregnant women. Pregnancy-induced high blood pressure is a serious complication that can put both mother and child at risk.

Does calcium affect menopause? 
When a woman enters menopause, her body produces much less of the female hormone estrogen.  Loss of estrogen increases the risk of osteoporosis.  Osteoporosis is a thinning of the bones.  Bones become weak and fragile and can break easily.  That’s why it is so important to take steps to protect yourself from osteoporosis by getting enough calcium every day.

Calcium by itself has been shown to prevent some bone loss after menopause, and it definitely can help estrogen replacement therapy work more effectively. Recent studies have shown estrogen plus daily calcium is up to three times more effective in building bone than estrogen alone!  The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends that women make certain they get adequate daily calcium intake to make hormone replacement therapy and other prescription osteoporosis medications work more effectively.  Men are also vulnerable to osteoporosis and need to consume adequate calcium through their older years to prevent further bone loss and in their younger years to achieve peak bone mass.

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