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New Benefits of Calcium Citrate

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By Source: Healthwatch • • July 1, 1997

Most health-conscious people know how important calcium is to the human body in protecting against a myriad of diseases and deficiencies, especially osteoporosis. Along with playing an essential role in the formation of bones and teeth, calcium is intimately involved in with many other vital body functions. It is integral to the transmission of nerve messages, the proper function of muscles including the heart, the activation of certain enzymes for digestion, the nourishment of cells, and the release of energy.

The blood uses calcium for so many functions that if there is a dietary deficiency of calcium, and therefore a decreased amount of calcium in the bloodstream, the body pulls the calcium it needs from the bones. This, in addition to the natural mineral loss, causes the bones to weaken and be dangerously susceptible to fractures, a serious condition termed osteoporosis. Other symptoms of calcium deficiency are muscle cramps, nervousness, increased cholesterol levels, insomnia, and numbness in and/or legs.

In 1994, the National Institute of Health reported that Recommended Daily Allowance, 800 mg, for calcium is too low, and that half of American adults are not getting enough calcium on a daily basis. They recommend a dosage between 1,000 and 1,500 mg daily Calcium expert Robert Heaney, M.D., of Creighton University believes that women need 1,500 mg of calcium a day- almost double the RDA. The average American diet fails to provide half of that amount.

In a recent study at the University of Southern California School of Medicine, calcium was also found to help prevent hypertension, a serious risk factor for heart disease. A daily diet including 900 to 1,000 mg of calcium lowered hypertension risk by 12 percent. In research conducted at Mt. Sinai Medical Center, 1,000 mg a day has helped ease PMS symptoms (i.e. mood swings, water retention, cramps). According to 'The Doctor's Vitamin and Mineral Encyclopedia" (Simon & Schuster, 1990) by Sheldon Hendler, M.D., Ph.D., calcium in the form of calcium citrate does not require stomach hydrochloric acid for absorption. This means that it is more readily absorbed and utilized by the body and can also be taken on an empty stomach. Calcium citrate never leads to the formation of calcium kidney stones. Another unique advantage that comes with taking calcium citrate is that unlike other forms of calcium, it never blocks iron absorption.

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