Calcium tablets can be harmful to health

Calcium keeps bones strong. So many people are turning to dietary supplements. However, high doses of calcium tablets can have serious health consequences. Because they promote the formation of kidney stones and arteriosclerosis.

Calcium plays an important role in bone formation. However, for people who do not have a significantly increased risk of fractures and who get enough minerals through their diet, calcium supplements are unlikely to be helpful. Studies prove it. It is different for people who are under osteoporosis (bone loss) suffer. But here, too, strict rules apply when it comes to dosage.

Better cover calcium needs through food

Since many osteoporosis patients take multiple supplements, accidental overdose is possible. However, there are no harmful upper limits for calcium-rich foods. This is why the mineral should normally be taken in through the diet, explains private lecturer Dr. Medical Stephan Scharla, spokesperson for the Bone and Mineral Metabolism Section of the German Society for Endocrinology e. V. (DGE). There is no harmful upper limit for calcium-rich foods.

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How much calcium per day should it be?

Basically, the following applies: “Healthy people with a varied and balanced diet that also contains dairy products do not need medicinal calcium supplements”, says Scharla. “An exception are those who (may) consume little or no dairy products and patients suffering from so-called malabsorption – for example after gastric bypass surgery for obesity. They have a high risk of calcium deficiency linked to obesity. food”, explains the expert.

Calcium an essential mineral
About 98% of calcium is contained in bones and teeth and keeps them stable. The quantitatively most important mineral in the human body is also an important factor in blood clotting. It is also involved in many functions such as the transmission of stimuli in the nervous system. The most common consequence of calcium deficiency is osteoporosis. More than six million people in Germany are affected, including one in four women over the age of 50.

According to experts, a daily calcium intake of 1000 mg is optimal. Up to 500 mg/day can be taken safely via calcium supplements. “The most effective way is to take it with meals,” advises Scharla. However, higher doses of 1,000 to 1,500 mg may increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases, among others. This also applies to over-the-counter preparations and medications, since the ingredients are basically the same.

milk, vegetables and mineral water

Even if osteoporosis is present, the calcium intake should preferably come from the diet, underlines the endocrinologist. The body excretes excess bone minerals. “Dairy products are a good source of calcium, as are green vegetables like broccoli or kale, and calcium-rich mineral waters.” People who are lactose intolerant or have an aversion to dairy products could therefore turn to other sources of calcium. There are now many lactose-free dairy products in grocery stores.

Studies show that the calcium bioavailability of mineral water is similar to that of milk. If the mineral water contains at least 150 mg of calcium per litre, it can be labeled “containing calcium”. This is indicated on the vial label.

These Foods Are Calcium Thieves

Calcium absorption is impaired by high phosphate deli meats, coffee and black tea (if consumed in large amounts), alcoholic beverages, carbonated drinks, processed cheese, and high fat foods. oxalic acid such as spinach, rhubarb and asparagus.

Vitamin D is important for calcium absorption

In order to be able to absorb calcium from the intestine and build it up in the bones, the body also needs vitamin D. In winter, a vitamin D supplement of 1000 IU per day is advisable due to the low proportion of light UV. This not only improves calcium absorption, but also strengthens the immune system. However, Scharla warns against excessive single doses of vitamin D: “They are harmful – continuously low intake is best.”

It should be noted that patients taking medications for osteoporosis, such as intravenous bisphosphonates, teriparatide or romosozumab, may have an increased need for calcium. In this case, doctors recommend supplemental calcium medication, says Scharla.

Prevent osteoporosis through a healthy lifestyle

“However, calcium alone is not enough to prevent or even treat osteoporosis,” says Professor Stephan Petersenn from the practice Endoc for Endocrinology and Andrology in Hamburg.

“It still includes regular physical activity with strength training, daily walks in the fresh air to provide you with vitamin D, avoid underweight, prevent falls, and stop smoking.” Moreover, there are very effective drugs with few side effects that doctors can prescribe as part of the treatment of osteoporosis.

Important note: The information does not in any way replace professional advice or treatment by trained and recognized doctors. The content of t-online cannot and should not be used to independently establish diagnoses or initiate treatments.


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