It seems everyone is confused about how much calcium is adequate, and whether or not we need supplementation in the diet. Women, as well as men, past the age of 50 – despite good diet – need extra calcium.

If we dissect the average American diet, we would find plenty of calcium in the foods we eat. Yet, in spite of this, many people continue to show low serum calcium levels, and suffer the effects of diseases related to poor calcium utilization, including osteoporosis. So, if calcium is prevalent in the diet, and or the average American is taking some form of calcium supplementation why are our bodies unable to utilize this much needed mineral? There are actually several reasons; let's take a look.

1. Calcium, as is the case with all minerals, is not easily digested. As we age and the fires of digestion weaken, the body’s ability to break down and assimilate minerals from food is further diminished.

2. Most calcium supplements cannot be chemically reduced for assimilation into the cells. The calcium in Tums is a classic example. Yes, Tums are high in calcium, but not in a form that is usable at the cellular level. Another misgiving, if the calcium dissolves in a glass of vinegar water in 20 minutes, it’s a good calcium. I disagree. That simple physical reaction does not reduce the calcium to a form that can be assimilated into the cellular structure.

3. Calcium and magnesium are the dynamic duo in the body and follow one another electronically. Calcium cannot be held in solution in bodily fluids or blood without adequate magnesium. So whether you are supplementing your diet with extra calcium or not, you need to be taking some magnesium. Otherwise you’re more than likely adding that unused calcium to the deposits in your joints as arthritic spurs or kidney stones. How much magnesium is enough? The appropriate ratio of calcium to magnesium was once considered two parts calcium to one part magnesium. Clinical nutrition experts are beginning to agree it needs to be equal parts calcium to magnesium.

When purchasing supplements, buy only high quality supplements from a health food store or from a health care professional. Ask or look for a balanced calcium magnesium supplement. If you are getting enough magnesium, and calcium is drawn back into the blood stream, you’ll notice things like improved sleep, less muscle stiffness, pain or hardness in the muscles. If symptoms do not improve, you may want to experiment with a magnesium supplement.

4. Other tips-

Till next time, Rebecca.