Calcium – How much is too much?

Calcium is one of the most important and abundant minerals in the body. Besides providing the skeletal structure for bones and teeth, calcium plays a key role in many other day-to-day functions of the body. Calcium is important for the normal clotting of the blood, the conduction of nerve impulses, and the contraction and relaxation of muscles and blood vessels, as well as the regulation of body fluids, including hormones and enzymes.

Your body can’t make its own calcium, so the only way to get enough is to eat calcium-rich foods. And if you don’t get enough calcium in your diet, you can end up with weakened bones, increasing the risk for fractures later in life.

 

Best Calcium rich foods to include in your diet

Raw Milk 1 cup 300 mg (30% DV)
Kale (cooked) 1 cup 245 mg (24% DV)
Sardines (with bones) 2 oz. 217 mg (21% DV)
Yogurt 6 oz. 300mg (30% DV)
Broccoli (cooked) 1.5 cup 93 mg (9% DV)
Watercress 1 cup 4 mg (4% DV)
Cheese 1 oz 224 mg (22% DV)
Bok Choy 1 cup 82 mg (8% DV)
Okra 1 cup 82 mg (8% DV)
Almonds 1 oz. 76 mg (8 % DV)

Although diet is the best way to get calcium, calcium supplements may be an option if your diet falls short. Before you consider calcium supplements, be sure you understand how much calcium you need, the pros and cons of calcium supplements, and which type of supplement to choose.

Also, you must know your calcium levels before you start taking calcium supplements. Excess calcium is a real problem and is more common than calcium deficiency. Typically, Calcium levels will not get too elevated on their own from food alone (unless intake is excessive). It happens when a calcium rich diet is paired with calcium supplements and Vitamin D3 supplements, then calcium levels start creeping up. Soaring Calcium levels can lead to calcification in your body and have adverse effects on different organs in your body, such as:

 

Kidneys

Excess calcium in your blood means your kidneys have to work harder to filter it. This can cause excessive thirst and frequent urination.

 

Digestive system

Hypercalcemia can cause stomach upset, nausea, vomiting and constipation.

 

Bones & Muscles

In most cases, the excess calcium in your blood was leached from your bones, which weakens them. This can cause bone pain, muscle weakness and depression.

 

Brain

Hypercalcemia can interfere with the way your brain works, resulting in confusion, lethargy and fatigue. It can also cause depression.

 

Heart

Rarely, severe hypercalcemia can interfere with your heart function, causing palpitations and fainting, indications of cardiac arrhythmia, and other heart problems.

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for Calcium is 1000 mg per day for men and women under 50 & 1200 mg per day for those older than 50 years old.

Dr. Noor-ul-Wahab

  • Specialist Oral Surgeon
  • B.D.S, FCPS (Pak), FFDRCS (Ireland)