Calcium Supplements Affect High Blood Pressure?

calcium and blood pressure

You know that calcium plays a role in healthy teeth and bones. But did you know that calcium positively affects your blood pressure?

Given our stressful times, this is important news to understand.

Lately, tireless calcium has actually been shunned due to recent critical headlines in the press. If you too have turned your back on it, you better read on to make sure that’s your best decision because your blood pressure (and your bones) will pay a high price.

Our Chronically Calcium Deficient World

Over the last few years, the need for calcium supplements has been questioned.

Due to a push to go back to nature, many have advocated throwing away their calcium tablets and instead aim to get all needs met from our diet, as “we were intended to.”

Despite good intentions from a watchful diet, many still are calcium deficient.

It’s largely because mass farming has compromised the vitamin and mineral level in foods.

For instance, broccoli has a third of the calcium that it did in the 1950s! [1] So unless you’re eating double the vegetables that your grandparents did, you may be nutrient and calcium deficient.

Yet despite our documented need for increased minerals such as calcium, more bad PR discouraged the use of these type of supplements.

Do you recall the recent headlines that pointed the finger at calcium supplements as being responsible for increasing heart attack risk? [2]

Unfortunately the majority of people didn’t dig past the headlines into the fine print to discover that it was traditional rock based calciums that were responsible and guilty of this accusation.

Yes, deep within all the studies that were cited was the crucial point that subjects were consuming calcium carbonate supplements, which is rock. So it’s not a big surprise that the calcium didn’t get to the intended bones, but got stuck on arterial walls, leading to heart issues.

The unfortunate end result was a good portion of the masses chose what they thought was the lesser of all the health evils and gave up on calcium supplementation altogether.

However, throwing the baby out with the bathwater is never advisable because ample levels of calcium are necessary to support several healthy body processes.

Calcium is Like Duct Tape: Infinitely Useful

The commonly known functions of calcium are to ensure healthy bones and teeth, normal blood clotting, and nervous system functioning.

Some of the key non-bone functions of calcium that are less known are: blood clotting; stabilizing blood pressure; contributing to normal brain functioning and communicating essential information among cells. [3]

As well, calcium helps insulin open cells to glucose, releases chemicals that transmit a signal from a nerve cell to a target cell (like when a nerve tells a muscle to move), assists the actual process of contraction of the muscle cell, and facilitates the movement of sperm into an egg to fertilize the egg.

These obviously are not trivial and negotiable tasks at all, which means maintaining proper calcium levels is crucial to your overall health.

And there is still more that miraculous calcium does for you — it helps to lower your blood pressure!

Study: Calcium Supports Healthy Blood Pressure

A very important job that calcium does is regulate the proper expansion and contraction of blood vessels. It’s speculated that this is how it helps control high blood pressure.

Several clinical trials have demonstrated a relationship between increased calcium intakes and both lower blood pressure and risk of hypertension. [4],[5]

In fact the Linus Pauling Institute reports 23 scientific studies that show calcium intake is connected to lowered blood pressure.

Researchers go on to state that getting the Recommended Daily Intake (RDA) of calcium, which is 1000 to 1200 mg, can help prevent high blood pressure. [6]

Unfortunately, most people in Western countries get only 600 mg per day from their diets. [7] So that means ALL of the jobs that calcium does for you, including reducing your blood pressure, are performed poorly, if at all, unless you up your daily amount to 1200 mg.

For various reasons, such as minerals rates in common foods being almost half of where they were in the 1950s, we don’t reach that amount through our diets.

Thankfully, the discovery of marine algaes that are very high in calcium means you don’t have to choose between risk of heart attack (that rock calciums prompt) OR high blood pressure, osteoporosis and countless other issues that spring from calcium deficiency.


References:

  1. ^ http://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/nutrient-decline-industrial-farming.aspx#axzz2Vq0wdERG
  2. ^ http://heart.bmj.com/content/98/12/920.abstract
  3. ^ http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Calcium-QuickFacts/
  4. ^ Allender PS, Cutler JA, Follmann D, Cappuccio FP, Pryer J, Elliott P. Dietary calcium and blood pressure. Ann Intern Med 1996;124:825-31.
  5. ^ Bucher HC, Cook RJ, Guyatt GH, Lang JD, Cook DJ, Hatala R, et al. Effects of dietary calcium supplementation on blood pressure. JAMA 1996;275:1016-22.
  6. ^ http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/fw12/includes/FW12.pdf
  7. ^ http://www.ars.usda.gov/SP2UserFiles/Place/12355000/pdf/0506/usual_nutrient_intake_vitD_ca_phos_mg_2005-06.pdf
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Michael Dewey

About Michael Dewey

Michael is AlgaeCal’s Editor in Chief, and was born in Toronto, Ontario. He is responsible for most of AlgaeCal’s writing material such as blog posts, and you might recognize his face from the AlgaeCal newsletters as well. Outside of work, Mike pursues both sporting and creative pursuits. He enjoys beach volleyball, cycling hockey, baseball and snowboarding, but also uses digital technology to compose his own music; merging and stacking layers of instruments and vocals, one-by-one, to make a full band sound.

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