At What Age Should You Start Taking Calcium?
Calcium plays a vital role in life as it is a bone-saving mineral. No matter how old you are, the benefit of calcium is undeniable. Typically, it is thought that children need more of this mineral than adults for bone growth and development. But what many don’t realize is that bone growth does not stop. As you grow older, it becomes more important to maintain and build bone strength and prevent bone-related conditions like osteoporosis. Our bones don’t make calcium and one has to rely on diet or calcium supplements to fulfill the requirement.
Benefits of Calcium
Calcium is known for not just strengthening the bones but also the teeth. Calcium is stored in the teeth and bones. When bones go through the breakdown process, calcium in them helps in building new bone. So getting enough of this mineral is essential for keeping the bones strong throughout the lifetime. While you can list out at least 10 benefits of calcium, here are a few important ones:
- Blood clotting
- It helps in the functioning of the blood vessel
- Nerve signal transmission
- Release of vital hormones
- Lowers blood pressure
- Might protect against prostate and colorectal cancers.
Daily Calcium Requirements by Age
The amount of calcium needed depends on gender and age. The recommended quantity of calcium is:
- 700 mg for 1 to 3 years
- 1000 mg for 4 to 8 years
- 1,300 for 9 to 18 years
- 1000 mg for 19 to 50 years
- 1,200 mg for 51 years and above
Though calcium is an important nutrient, overconsumption of the same is not advised. One should not have more than 2500 mg of calcium per day.
List of Calcium-Rich Foods
Diet is the most reliable source of calcium as the body cannot produce it on its own. Some of the foods that contain good amounts of this mineral are:
- Dairy products like yogurt, cheese, and milk
- Green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, and broccoli
- Fish like sardines and salmon
- Calcium-fortified foods like cereals, soy, maize, orange juice, or milk substitutes
A diet that includes dairy and green leafy vegetables will give you the needed calcium. Track the intake for a few days and determine if you are reaching your target or are below it. If you are unable to fulfill it with food alone, then choose calcium supplements.
Apart from taking vital minerals like Calcium and Vitamin D, incorporating a healthy lifestyle and exercise helps build bone mass.
When to Start taking Calcium Supplements?
At times it becomes difficult to get calcium on a daily basis with diet alone. So it is a good idea to start taking supplements on a regular basis from puberty. That is because most adults have a peak bone mass when they are between 25 and 30 yeast of age. By age 40, the bone mass begins to reduce. So instead of taking enormous amounts of calcium when your bone mass starts to reduce, why not start early?
Additionally, apart from calcium, it should also contain Vitamin D, K, and zinc. How long does it take for calcium supplements to work? It takes 6 weeks for the calcium to absorb and give benefits and prevent calcium deficiency.