7 Essential Facts About Calcium by Shubhra Krishan for http://www.care2.com/

| Tags: General health

Most of us associate calcium with healthy bones, and rightly so. But did you know that calcium is also vital for maintaining the health of your nervous system? It also helps blood clot and muscles contract. Without calcium, in fact, we cannot survive.

Getting sufficient calcium, however, isn’t as simple as popping a calcium tablet. I’ve put together some useful tips to help you get enough, and, equally important–absorb calcium properly.

  • Low-fat dairy delivers more calcium than full fat. For example, 8 ounces of whole milk yogurt has only 274 mg calcium, compared to low fat yogurt, which has about 400 mg.
  • Calcium is best absorbed at night because that’s when your parathyroid glands and the liver are most active. Incidentally, calcium is known to help you sleep better.
  • Though you might require 1000 mg or more of calcium every day, it is best abosrbed when taken in doses of 500 mg at a time. The body can’t handle too much calcium at one go.
  • Should you take your multivitamin and iron supplements at the same time as your calcium tablet? No! For better absorption, take calcium separately from these.
  • Dairy isn’t your only option. If you choose to avoid it or cannot tolerate it, get your calcium from green leafy vegetables and dry roasted almonds.
  • You should always take calcium with a full glass of water and have it either with your meal or just after. This helps your system absorb it better.
  • Calcium needs a partner for better absorption—that’s Vitamin D, which helps form the hormone calcitriol. Your intake of Vitamin D comes from three sources—sunshine, diet and supplements. Make sure you know how much you need and which of these sources works best for you.

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