Vitamins, Minerals

Chelated Calcium

Chelated calcium is calcium combined with beneficial amino acids, in order that it may be more rapidly and efficiently absorbed by the body as opposed to simply calcium by itself. Calcium is one of the most important and abundant minerals in the body, mainly because of its role in the composition of bones and teeth, but it is also needed for many other essential bodily processes. Somewhere in the region of one and a half percent of the bodyweight of a healthy adult will be comprised of calcium.



One of the major risks of calcium deficiency is osteoporosis, a disease in which the bones become brittle and fragile due to reduced bone density, making them more likely to break. Osteoporosis is particularly dangerous for the elderly, for whom a broken bone can be fatal. Women are at increased risk of osteoporosis, and so calcium supplementation is recommended especially for them.

Calcium is a component part of a process called bone mineralization, which is when it combines with phosphorous, making calcium phosphate. Calcium phosphate is the compound that provides bones with their structure and therefore also their relative strength.

Additionally, calcium is part of many other bodily processes, including the clotting of blood, contracting of muscles and proper functioning of the nervous system. It is needed to regulate the activity of many enzymes and the operation of cell membranes. Since calcium is needed for so many functions in your body, it is stored in the bloodstream and dispensed where and when needed. When calcium levels in the bloodstream are low due to a low dietary intake of the mineral, the body will draw on other calcium supplies, which means your bones. This is the root cause of osteoporosis.

Chelated calcium is particularly effective as a dietary supplement for human beings, as it is calcium bound with amino acids, which make the calcium more readily absorbed during digestion as the body recognizes the amino acids as food to be absorbed, whereas pure calcium would not be. Primary types of chelated calcium are calcium aspartate, calcium lactate, calcium citrate, calcium gluconate, calcium orotate, calcium ascorbate and calcium malate.

Some other symptoms of calcium deficiency include rickets and growth defects in children, and a condition known as tetany, where the activity of the nervous system is greatly elevated, causing muscle spasms and quite serious pain, as well as possible tingling in extremities. Many children’s foods are supplemented with calcium, as they need plenty of it to help with their growing bone structure and developing healthy teeth.

Some medications can inhibit the absorption of calcium and cause calcium deficiency, even if dietary levels of calcium are reasonably high. These include some anti-inflammatory drugs known as corticosteroids, antacids that contain aluminum, antibiotics such as neomycin, erythromycin and sulfamethoxazole, hormone replacement therapy and some anticonvulsants. Excessive levels of caffeine or protein in the system can also inhibit the absorption of calcium.



Conversely, calcium supplements may inhibit the proper function of some medication, including the osteoporosis treatment alendronate, and tetracycline antibiotics (which is why you never take tetracycline with milk.)

Additionally, calcium supplementation has also been found in studies to be beneficial in the treatment of cataracts, kidney stones, osteoporosis, inflammatory bowel disease, high blood pressure and some types of cancer. It is frequently used to treat conditions associated with menstruation and pregnancy, such as premenstrual syndrome, hypertension and polycystic ovarian syndrome, and calcium supplements are usually recommended as being particularly important before and after pregnancy.

The recommended daily amount of calcium is around 500mg per day, and it is best taken in conjunction with phosphorous to enable the proper formation of healthy bones, which cannot occur one without the other. Taking excess calcium is not recommended as it can cause the calcification of soft tissues and a potentially hazardous build-up of calcium in cells where it would not usually be present, which can in turn inhibit their function. Levels of calcium above 2,500mg per day may prove counterproductive.

As with many supplements, calcium works best in conjunction with other vitamins and minerals, as they often work in synergy to fulfill various actions. Calcium cannot be properly absorbed without the presence of vitamin D, therefore any calcium supplement will be either sub-optimal or completely wasted on a person who is also vitamin D deficient. Calcium is therefore best taken as part of a multivitamin and mineral formula.

Chelated calcium is available in the form of several different preparations, from pills and capsules to fortified juice drinks and other convenient sources. It is also an active ingredient in some popular antacids, which use calcium to neutralize stomach acid, and is therefore also available in a chewy form.

Calcium supplements are recommended for most people, especially since dietary levels of calcium are declining, and the incidence of osteoporosis is on the rise. Children and pregnant women will particularly benefit from calcium as their bodies demand even more to support the development of bone growth and strengthening. Chelated calcium is preferred, as it is the most easily and efficiently absorbed form of calcium supplement currently available.



 

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