Calcium is the main mineral needed to build strong bones. Calcium deficiency can cause disturbed bone growth. However, excess calcium actually causes a bad impact on the body. Then how much calcium does the body need?
What is the actual amount of calcium the body needs?
The body can get calcium from food and calcium supplements. However, not all calcium that enters the body will be absorbed by the body. Calcium can only pass in the digestive tract and then be discarded. Even so, it is important for you to maintain normal amounts of blood calcium levels. If not, then this can interfere with the body's normal function.
The body gets the calcium it needs by releasing calcium stored in the bones into the blood. This is obtained through bone remodeling, which is a process in which bones are broken down and reshaped continuously. So, maintaining enough calcium in the body that can hold the body up takes more calcium from the bones. Lack of minerals in bones can be prevented.
The number of 1,200 mg of calcium per day is a recommendation for daily calcium intake. This figure was taken referring to several studies in the late 1970s that showed that consuming 1,200 mg of calcium per day can maintain calcium balance in women after menopause, reported from Harvard Health Publishing.
The intake of 1,200 mg of calcium per day may not guarantee calcium in the body is definitely enough. The reason is that not all calcium is absorbed by the body. Therefore, you need to consume sufficient amounts of vitamin D, in addition to calcium. This is because vitamin D can help the body absorb calcium. That way, there is a greater possibility for the body to absorb more calcium when you get enough vitamin D.
What is excessive calcium intake?
Generally, the calcium requirement per day is around 1,200 mg per day. This need can be higher or lower depending on age. Unfortunately, 1,200 mg is a difficult amount to achieve if you don't eat a variety of foods that contain calcium. Most people actually lack calcium intake. So, some people might take calcium supplements to meet calcium needs.
However, excessive consumption of calcium supplements can cause calcium levels in the body to become high or called hypercalcemia. Hypercalcemia can then cause bones to become weak, kidney function decreases and kidney stones can even form, and brain and heart function can also decrease. After all, there is no benefit for bones if you consume excessive amounts of calcium.
So, make sure you don't consume calcium beyond your calcium needs per day. Reporting from the National Institutes of Health, the upper limit of calcium intake per day is:
- 2,500 mg of calcium per day for children aged 1-8 years
- 3,000 mg of calcium per day for children aged 9-18 years
- 2,500 mg of calcium per day for adults aged 19-50 years
- 2,000 mg of calcium per day for adults aged 51 years or more
Does it mean that you can't take calcium supplements?
Actually, not everyone needs calcium supplements, especially if you are used to eating healthy foods with balanced nutrition and do not have special conditions. Supplements are only needed when you really can't get enough calcium from food. Some people who might need calcium supplements are:
- People with a vegetarian diet
- People with lactose intolerance and must limit their consumption of milk and dairy products
- People who consume protein or sodium in very high amounts, because it can cause the body to release more calcium
- People with osteoporosis
- People who receive long-term corticosteroid treatment
- People with certain digestive problems, which can reduce the body's ability to absorb calcium, such as inflammatory bowel disease or celiac disease
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