Curious about soccer?
Curious about soccer?
If you are a woman of a certain age, when you think about it soccer your mind may be thinking “Do you have milk?” The famous 90s campaign forever linked the idea of milk with strong bones and teeth. But why does milk help give you strong bones or teeth? You can thank football. And that connection is correct, but that’s hardly the whole story. Soccerthe most abundant mineral in your body, it also affects your heart and other major organs.
We were curious about the role of calcium in your whole-body health, so we reached out to Isabel Smith, MS, RN, CDN, a registered dietitian and member of HealthyWomen’s Women’s Health Advisory Council.
What is calcium and why do you need it?
Strong bones and teeth thrive on calcium. But more than that, football is needed for other daily and vital functions happening behind the scenes: muscle contraction; nerve conduction; and the activity of your heart, blood, and cells.
About 99% of football is stored in our bones, with the remaining 1% in blood, muscle and other tissues. Our bodies are quite adept when it comes to tracking the precise amount of calcium it needs, transporting it away from the bones, which act somewhat like a reservoir, then distributing it throughout the body to maintain a constant flow of calcium in the blood.
But there’s a catch: If there isn’t enough calcium in your blood to draw from, the body takes it from your bones, Smith said. Ideally, the “borrowed” calcium from your bones will be replaced at a later date. But this doesn’t always happen and can contribute to osteoporosis over time.
Postmenopausal women are especially prone to calcium deficiency why the loss of estrogen that occurs with menopause it reduces both the amount of calcium absorbed by the body and the amount of calcium retained by the bones.
Blood calcium levels can be measured with a calcium blood test. Rather than showing the amount of calcium in your bones, that’s the job of a bone density test or DEXA scan — a blood calcium test can check if there is too much or too little calcium in your blood and can be a useful indicator of your overall health, and many medical conditionsincluding bone or thyroid disease, parathyroid disorders, and kidney disease.
How much calcium do you need each day?
Most experts agree that women over 50, whose bodies generally absorb less calcium from food, need it 1,200 mg of calcium per day.
Soccer needs vary, and not all women require the same amount of calcium. For example, younger women between the ages of 19 and 50 need 1,000 mg of calcium per day. For pregnant and lactating women, 1,000 mg per day is recommended.
Can You Take Too Much Calcium?
If football is so good, does it mean that more is better?
You might think so, but the answer is no.
Having too much calcium in your blood can cause a condition called hypercalcemia, which puts you at risk for kidney stones, cancer and constipation. There is also research suggesting that for some people, too much calcium (especially from supplements) can build up in blood vessels and can lead to heart problems. That’s why experts advise women over 50 not to get more than 2,000 mg per day from a combination of food and supplements. The upper limit for others is 2,500 mg per day.
It’s important to be aware of some medications that can keep your body from absorbing calcium well. These drugs should not be taken at the same time as calcium supplements:
- Iron supplements
- Some antibiotics
- Thyroid medications
- Bisphosphonates (treatment for osteoporosis)
- Some medications for seizures
How to get calcium from food
From our body it cannot produce calcium by itselfhe gets what he needs through calcium-containing foods or supplements.
Milk isn’t the only food that’s high in calcium. Others include:
- Dairy products, such as yogurt and cheese
- Leafy greens (like kale)
- Winter squash
- soy beans
- Canned sardines and salmon (especially with soft edible bones)
- Almonds and almond butter
- Fortified foods such as fruit juices and drinks, tofu and cereals
Possible benefits of a calcium supplement
Calcium is absorbed best when you get it through food. “If you plan your diet to get a lot of calcium through food, that may be enough for your needs,” Smith said.
But food doesn’t always give you enough calcium, and according to many national nutritional surveys, most people don’t get enough. Why? Some people, such as vegans or those who are lactose intolerant, find it difficult to get enough calcium from food. The same is true for those taking long-term corticosteroids; have certain intestinal or digestive diseases such as celiac disease or inflammatory bowel disease, which can reduce the body’s ability to absorb calcium; or consuming large amounts of sodium or protein, which can strip calcium from your body.
Two common forms of calcium supplements they are calcium carbonate and calcium citrate. Calcium carbonate should be taken with a meal, as it needs stomach acid to dissolve, while calcium citrate can be taken at any time.
If you have difficulty absorbing medication or if you take an iron supplement or heartburn medication, then calcium citrate might be a better choice for you.
Anyone taking calcium supplements should combine it with vitamin D, which aids in calcium absorption. For people up to 70 years old, experts recommend 600 IU (international units) per day. After age 70, you should increase your intake to 800 IU per day. The daily limit, according to art Institute of Medicineit should not exceed 4,000 IU.
Because higher doses of calcium take longer to absorb, medical experts recommend taking no more than 500 mg in a single dose. If you need more, wait at least four hours before taking the second dose.
Before jumping into supplements, make sure you know how much calcium you are getting from food. “If you consume 500 mg of calcium in your diet, you may only need another 500 mg from a supplement,” Smith said. Football is listed on food labels, which base the recommended daily value on 1,200 mg of calcium. Since the calculation can be confusing, you can consult a quick guide, like this soccer calculator from the University of Alabama.
What else you need to know about calcium intake
It’s important to keep in mind that there are some foods and medications that can do this increase the need for calcium. This is because they make your body release more calcium in your urine or reduce your intestines’ ability to absorb it. Some examples include corticosteroids (such as prednisone) and sodas containing phosphoric acid (such as dark colas). Excessive alcohol consumption it can also interfere with calcium balance by interfering with the production of vitamin D, which is needed for absorption.
There are benefits and risks to taking calcium supplements, said Smith, who recommended discussing any decision to take supplements with your doctor. “When you take a supplement, be sure to include other nutrients, such as D3, K2 and magnesium, all of which can aid in the absorption and way your body uses calcium.”
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