Calcium is crucial to good health, and hardly anyone gets enough through diet alone. But if you take a calcium supplement (and you should) there are some potential side effects you should know about.
First off, some people occasionally experience some gas and bloating when they begin taking a new calcium supplement. These effects are minor and usually go away in a fairly short amount of time. Of course, you’ll experience less of this if your calcium supplement is properly balanced with the correct ratio of magnesium.
More serious side effects include:
Heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems. Recent studies have indicated calcium supplements may lead to an increased risk of heart attacks and other cardiovascular events.
The increased risk has been noted with supplements in the form of both calcium carbonate and calcium citrate, and especially with supplements that contain no supporting ingredients.
Calcium supplements can lead to an increased risk of kidney stones – again depending on the form you take. Calcium citrate and carbonate are the most frequent offenders.
Arthiritis sufferers frequently notice increased pain and swelling in their joints when taking certain forms of calcium supplements.
Can These Side Effects Be Avoided?
Researchers believe the cause for all of these risks is calcium remaining in the bloodstream instead of being utilized by bones.
And yes, there are several things you can do to avoid them.
First, take your calcium in a safer, better absorbed form. You want a form that has been studied and documented, and shown to have positive effects on bone health while not increasing the other risks assiciated with calcium supplements.
That form is calcium citramate. It’s been shown to be up to 30% more absorbable than calcium citrate, effective for bone health, and it’s the only form of calcium that’s been found to actually reduce the risk of kidney stones.
Second, be sure you give your calcium the supporting ingredients it needs to do it’s job. Calcium just can’t get where it needs to go all by itself. It requires the help of a handful of supporting ingredients including:
- Vitamin D – essential for calcium absorption, it’s as critical for bone health as calcium itself. But supplements are only effective in the form of D3, which is the form your body creates when exposed to sunshine.
- Magnesium – helps prevent calcium from being absorbed into walls of arteries where it can cause them to stiffen, causing atherosclerosis and increasing heart risks. Also helps calcium build bones. But it competes with calcium for absorption in the intestine and must be taken in the correct ratio (2:1 in favor of calcium) or neither will be absorbed properly.
- Vitamin C – increases calcium absorption and helps prevent bone loss
- Vitamin K – perhaps the most important nutrient for avoiding calcium side effects. K is the chemical your body uses to move calcium out of arteries and joints and into bones where it belongs. It’s so effective it’s been found to reduce existing calcium buildup in arteries by up to 37% in as little as 6 weeks.
- Lysine – increases the amount and speed of calcium absorption and (perhaps most importantly) decreases calcium excreted in urine. Which means less risk of kidney stones.
So to minimize the risks of calcium supplement side effects, you need to take calcium in the form of citramate and you need to take the supporting ingredients it needs to work. Of course, you can take all these ingredients separately. But there is one product that contains them all. To learn more about the calcium supplement we recommend, click here.