More than 99% of your total body calcium is stored in your bones and teeth, where it supports their structure and is ready to be called into action for many other critical functions.
A few of these calcium functions are muscle contraction, the secretion of hormones and enzymes, and sending messages through the nervous system. The amount of calcium in your body fluid and tissues is closely regulated so that these vital body processes function efficiently.
Therefore, it is particularly important to consume enough calcium (and its helper minerals and vitamins such as magnesium, vitamins D3, K2, C, boron and trace minerals). When your calcium intake is low or is poorly absorbed, bone breakdown occurs because the body must use the calcium stored in bones to maintain more urgent functions — such as generating a heartbeat!
In addition to these functions, the following are the top science-backed benefits of calcium…
The Top 7 Calcium Health Benefits
1. Supports Bone Health
Your bones remodel throughout life according to the stresses placed on them. Because bone loss, like bone building, is a gradual process, the stronger your bones are at age 30 when their growth peaks, the more your bone loss will be delayed as you age.
Research shows that brittle bones, and increased osteoporosis risks, are found most often in postmenopausal women (because of decreased estrogen). It is especially prevalent in those who are thin, less active, drink excess alcohol and/or take certain medications such as anti-seizure drugs, some steroidal drugs (glucocorticoids), sleeping pills, and breast cancer drugs. In fact, there are at least 15 classes of drugs known to cause bone loss.
However, traditional rock-based calcium supplements (their labels read: calcium carbonate and calcium citrate) have only ever been shown to slow down bone loss.
One of the reasons they are ineffective is that they are a single nutrient solution to a multi-nutrient problem.
Your bones need much more than just calcium, or calcium and vitamin D. In fact, there are 13 vitamins and minerals that your bones need to stay healthy and strong. The 13 you need are calcium, magnesium, boron, copper, manganese, potassium, phosphorous, nickel, vanadium, zinc, silicon, selenium, strontium – and their bone-promoting actions.
So while your typical rock-based calcium supplement is better than nothing, don’t you want improved bone density instead of bone loss?
Years ago, AlgaeCal Co-Founder Dean Neuls discovered a game-changing calcium source along the shorelines of South America. He witnessed locals using a rare, marine algae to feed their livestock and noticed their coats got shinier, they grew faster and their milk produced higher protein content.
It’s called Lithothamnion superpositum (or Algas calcareas as the locals call it). And it’s the foundation of the only calcium supplement guaranteed to increase bone density, naturally.
In fact, it’s been clinically supported to increase bone density in three human clinical trials to date. The latest, a 7-year long clinical study showing an average 1% per year increase in bone density…year after year.
AlgaeCal Plus also contains all 13 of the vitamins and minerals your bones need in their proper proportions, the way nature intended. To discover more, click here.
2. Balances Blood Pressure
Calcium is important for healthy blood pressure because it helps blood vessels – arteries, veins, and capillaries – tighten and relax when they need to. That changes the flow of blood through these long strings of channels in your body. If strung together, they would be 100,000 miles long!
You can imagine that calcium’s job to regulate how much or how little blood gets through them is a very important one: if blood flows through your arteries with too much force, your blood pressure becomes high and it puts extra strain on artery walls and on your heart that pumps blood. This can eventually cause a heart attack or stroke.
High blood pressure (also called hypertension) affects 65 million adults in the US and is also called a “silent killer” because many people have it but don’t know it.
Who is at risk, and can calcium help? People who eat a lot of processed and canned foods or who take certain medications (that deplete these minerals) are at risk, says the director of the Division of Hypertension at the Massachusetts General Hospital Heart Center. According to Harvard University’s 2014 report, key minerals to help control blood pressure include calcium, magnesium, and potassium; and consuming these specific minerals on a regular basis plays a major role in blood pressure control.
Some studies show that an increased calcium intake reduces the risk of high blood pressure.
However, in other research, like a 2008 study determining the effect of calcium and vitamin D supplements on the blood pressure of over 36,000 women, results did not show any effect. Why? It may be because the type of calcium used was the most common, cheapest, rock-based type (calcium carbonate) distributed to such a large group.
The combined effect of nutrients including calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamins K and D from food has been found to offer direct benefits to blood pressure. The most well-known research is called DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) by the National Institutes of Health. It found that the combination of abundant fruits and vegetables and calcium supplementation decreased blood pressure.
3. Reduces Colorectal Cancer
According to a 2013 study, proper nutrition can help prevent colon cancer and its recurrence. The evidence is clear that consuming a healthy balanced diet that includes nutrients like vitamin B6 and magnesium, and decreasing your consumption of red meats and alcohol create a substantial way to protect against developing colorectal cancer.
Among the minerals found to thwart this cancer is calcium. Calcium seems to protect people from developing the polyps that can lead to colorectal cancer. And the benefits appear to last long after taking the supplement, according to a 2007 study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. In the research, even people who were at high risk were protected up to five years after they stopped taking calcium supplements!
Even a 2015 study conducted in Korea, where the population tends to eat a lot of vegetables, found that they needed to increase calcium intake to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer in men and women.
Although some research does not show calcium’s beneficial effects on digestive health, the largest survey that showed benefits was the 2002 Nurses’ Health Study and Physicians’ Health Study of 135,000 men and women. The authors found that those surveyed who consumed 700-800 mg calcium per day had a 40% to 50% lower risk of developing this cancer.
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4. Combats Kidney Stones and Kidney Disease
Kidney stones are crystallized deposits of calcium and other minerals in the urinary tract.
Calcium oxalate stones are the most common kidney stones. High calcium intake was previously thought to contribute to developing these kidney stones. But studies now show that higher calcium in your diet (in addition to potassium and magnesium) actually decreases the risk of getting kidney stones. For more on kidney stones and oxalates, read “Does Oxalic Acid in Spinach Inhibit Calcium Absorption?”
Chronic kidney disease, meaning that the kidneys are damaged and can’t filter blood like they should, is associated with imbalances of calcium. And although high calcium intake through traditional supplements is not advised, ensuring that there is adequate calcium in the diet is vital to those with the disease. (Kidney disease is often a result of having diabetes or high blood pressure.)
Calcium may also benefit those with kidney disease complications such as parathyroid gland disorder (hyperparathyroidism). Parathyroid glands control the amount of calcium in your blood and bones. About 1 in 50 women over age 50 develop a parathyroid gland tumor during their lifetime. This parathyroid disease causes high blood calcium and can lead to early death if the tumor is not removed. Taking calcium supplements has been shown to reduce parathyroid hormone levels in people with kidney failure whose PTH levels are too high.
Calcium’s general beneficial effects on the parathyroid gland are well known. A 2002 study showed that calcium supplementation reduced parathyroid disease after only 4 weeks, and also increased bone density in those with hyperparathyroidism.
5. Promotes Weight Loss
You have probably heard of the “dairy diet,” and using milk products to help slim down due to their calcium content. Whether or not that diet works is anyone’s guess, but its basis – the fact that calcium is involved in fat loss – is correct. Can you lose weight by taking calcium? Calcium plays a role in making fat cells, and it is therefore thought to help keep weight and fat in check.
According to science, within fat cells, it is the level of calcium that changes the balance between making fat and breaking it down. And when calcium levels within cells are high, this causes fewer fat cells to form. High-calcium intake may also reduce calcium concentrations in fat cells by lowering the production of two hormones (parathyroid hormone and an active form of vitamin D), which in turn increases fat breakdown in these cells.
In addition, calcium from food or supplements may bind to small amounts of dietary fat in the digestive tract and prevent its absorption, carrying the fat out in feces.
Does this lead to weight loss? Some research says yes, and some says no. But it is still safe to assume that getting enough calcium (along with other vitamins and minerals) is important to maintain a healthy body weight simply because it makes your cells and metabolism work efficiently to keep you in tip-top shape!
6. Eases PMS Symptoms
Wish you could sail through your cycle? You may think that PMS symptoms are a normal and inevitable part of your feminine cycle, but new research is showing that may not be true.
Premenstrual syndrome is partly due to changes in estrogen and progesterone levels during the menstrual cycle. It is also caused by chemical fluctuations in the brain, including reduced amounts of your happiness and get-up-and-go neurotransmitters called serotonin and dopamine. Yet what causes these? Deficiencies of nutrients including calcium have been found to substantially influence these changes.
Among all the supplements used to treat PMS, calcium has some of the strongest evidence to back its benefits. Therefore, be sure you’re getting enough calcium; it’s important to note that most of the studies done on calcium used supplements, not just calcium in food.
A 2000 study called Micronutrients and PMS: the case for calcium states, “The similarity between the symptoms of PMS and calcium deficiency is remarkable. Clinical trials have found that calcium supplementation effectively alleviates the majority of mood and body symptoms of PMS. Ovarian hormones influence calcium, magnesium and vitamin D metabolism. Estrogen regulates calcium metabolism, calcium absorption and parathyroid gene secretion, and these trigger menstrual cycle fluctuations.”
And it doesn’t take much. In a new 2017 study published in Obstetrics & Gynecology Science, researchers gave women with PMS a low dose (500 mg) of calcium every day for 2 months to see if their PMS severity changed. They found significant differences in both months menstrual cycles especially for lower levels of anxiety, depression, water retention and body changes in the calcium group.
And calcium’s “helper” nutrients were also lacking. Research from 2015 published in Health Promotion Perspective found an association between premenstrual syndrome and several nutrient deficiencies. “There were significant differences in dietary intake of calcium, magnesium, and potassium in the group experiencing PMS, and vitamin D levels were also lower than the normal range.”
Whether you experience abdominal pain, cramps, cravings, bloating, headaches, nausea, mood swings or irritability, you can reduce them naturally! Before reaching for prescription or NSAID medication, consider dietary changes, relaxation techniques, detox therapies, herbal remedies and nutritional supplements that can work wonders for these symptoms.
7. Promotes Dental Health
You know that calcium is vital to “build teeth” when you’re young. But can it actually help maintain and even improve your dental health when you are older?
Calcium intake during childhood and adolescence is still thought to be most important for continued dental health as an adult. And a hereditary calcium deficiency may contribute to poor teeth as an adult. Yet nutrition may still play a role in oral health throughout life. By supplying your body with the best nutrients to reduce inflammation, prevent gum disease, and improve the health of your oral bone, you may be able to keep that sensational smile longer!
Some research shows that calcium from food alone may not be enough to improve the health of teeth and gums, especially if your mineral deficiency has been longstanding. Supplementing with additional calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, vitamin C and omega-3 fatty acids may prove beneficial.
A 2011 study published in the Journal of Periodontology found that patients with chronic periodontal disease who took both vitamin D and calcium supplements for a year (400 IU/day of vitamin D and 1,000 mg/day of calcium) had better dental health than patients who didn’t take those supplements. (Vitamin D is necessary for optimal calcium absorption.)
Taking these supplements may also help you keep your teeth when you age. A 2001 study in the American Journal of Medicine states that oral bone and tooth loss are correlated with the bone loss in other areas of the body in people aged 65 and older. Before this study, it wasn’t known if taking supplements affects oral bone and, in turn, keeps teeth healthy longer. After examining the number of caries (cavities) and amount of periodontal disease in 145 people after five years of taking a calcium and vitamin D supplement, the researchers found that, indeed, higher levels of calcium and vitamin D did have a beneficial effect on keeping more teeth (in addition to osteoporosis prevention). “Now we know that supplementation may improve tooth retention, along with routine dental care and good oral hygiene,” said lead author Elizabeth Krall, MPH, PhD, a researcher at Tufts University Nutrition Research Center.
But don’t discount calcium from food, especially if you’re a man. A 2012 study found that Danish men getting the most calcium from dairy foods had the healthiest teeth.
The researchers followed 432 Danish adults (30–60 y old) over 12 years to see if their diet influenced their dental health. In men, eating substantially more dairy foods high in calcium was definitely associated with decreased tooth loss even after considering amounts that they smoked, drank alcohol, ate sugar, used supplements, had oral dryness (a cause of dental decay), and levels of good bacteria in the mouth (which helps prevent decay). In women, dairy calcium was only associated with preventing tooth loss if their good bacteria count was high (amount of Lactobacillus acidophilus) in the mouth.
A Unique, Clinically Supported Plant-Based Calcium
Calcium is one of the most critical minerals in your body. It plays a role in nerve transmission, muscle contraction, and blood clotting. It also boasts significant health benefits such as reducing colon cancer risk, improving dental health and building strong bones and teeth!
So how do you get the best calcium source on the planet?
AlgaeCal Plus is the world’s only calcium supplement that is clinically supported to increase bone density. It is sourced from rare sea algae called Lithothamnion superpositum (or Algas Calcareas as the locals call it) and contains all 13 vitamins and minerals that your bones need to stay healthy and strong. They are calcium, magnesium, boron, copper, manganese, potassium, phosphorous, nickel, vanadium, zinc, silicon, selenium, strontium – and all have been scientifically shown to benefit your bones.
Because it’s plant-based, it means that the minerals have been “predigested” by the plant making them more body-friendly. So it won’t cause you an upset stomach or constipation like traditional calcium supplements.
Furthermore, AlgaeCal Plus provides 720 mg of elemental calcium in a daily dose (4 capsules). While that may not seem like a lot compared to traditional, rock-based calcium supplements that provide 1200 mg of calcium, it is actually more effective at a lower dose. Combine your AlgaeCal Plus with the average Standard American Diet, which contains 400-500 mg of calcium and you will be reaching the recommended 1200 mg of calcium per day for women 50+ years old –with all of it coming from body-friendly, whole-food sources. Discover more about AlgaeCal Plus and its clinically supported, bone-building formula here.