Symmetry Products with Calcium: Advanced Omega, BotanaCleanse, Calcium Coverage, Future Star, NutraPack,
Ultra Vitality Crystals and WOW Smoothie
Calcium is the most abundant mineral
in the body. An average man contains about three pounds of calcium
and an average woman about two pounds. Ninety-nine percent (99%) of
the calcium in the body is found in the bones and teeth.
Those at risk of calcium deficiency include the elderly, people who
don’t eat dairy products, those on high protein or high fiber
diets and those who drink a lot of alcohol. People on
weight-reducing diets are also at risk as foods containing calcium
are often high in calories. Athletes and premenopausal women whose
menstrual periods have stopped may also be at increased risk of
deficiency which can lead to stress fractures, shin splints, weak
bones, poor bone healing and eventually osteoporosis.
What does it do for your body?
Bones and Teeth - Calcium is
essential in the development and maintenance of healthy bones and
teeth. Bone is made up of cells and fiber embedded in a mineral
matrix, which is mostly crystals of calcium phosphate. One form of
bone calcium is bound tightly within the bone and the other is
easily removed to maintain blood levels. Calcium is removed from the
tightly-bound part of the bone only when the more mobile stores are
exhausted and dietary intake is inadequate. Bones are constantly
being replaced, with 20% of an adult’s bone calcium reabsorbed and
replaced every year.
Nerve and Muscle Contraction - Calcium is essential for
muscle contraction, including that of the heart muscle and for nerve
impulse conduction. Calcium also aids in the release of
neurotransmitters which carry messages between nerve cells.
Blood Pressure - Calcium interacts with sodium, potassium and
magnesium to help regulate blood pressure. It has been found that
people whose diets are low in calcium have a higher incidence of
high blood pressure. The effects of a mother’s high calcium diet
during pregnancy may also be passed on to her children, who will be
less likely to suffer from high blood pressure.
Blood - Calcium in the blood is essential for clotting by
activating vitamin K (prothrombin) which is the first stage in wound
It is also involved in the control of blood cholesterol levels.
Increased calcium supports normal blood cholesterol levels and
overall heart health.
Immune Function - Calcium in milk has been shown to enhance
resistance to salmonella in rats.
Metabolism - Calcium is essential for the production and
activity of many enzymes and hormones that are involved in
digestion, energy and fat metabolism and the production of saliva.
Cell Membranes - Calcium is
involved in the transport of nutrients and other substances across
cell membranes and aids in the maintenance of connective tissue
which holds cells together.
Absorption - Between 10-40% of dietary calcium intake is absorbed; although women
after menopause may only absorb 7%. Calcium from milk and milk
products is absorbed more easily than that from vegetables.
Absorption is enhanced by vitamin D, proteins, lactose and stomach
acid. Lactation increases the ability of women to absorb calcium after
weaning or the resumption of menstrual periods. Deficiency and
moderate exercise also increase absorption and the efficiency of
absorption decreases as intake increases.
Dietary calcium must be made soluble in the stomach and then pass to
the small intestine, where it combines with a calcium binding
molecule so it can be absorbed (a process called chelation).
Calcium competes with zinc, manganese, magnesium, copper and iron
for absorption in the intestine, and a high intake of one can reduce
absorption of the others.
Adults excrete 400-600mg of calcium daily.
Deficiency - Signs of severe calcium deficiency include
abnormal heartbeat, muscle pains and cramps, numbness, stiffness and
tingling of the hands and feet. Children can suffer from rickets,
with symptoms of excessive sweating of the head, slowness in
sitting, crawling and walking, insomnia and bow legs. In adults
deficiency can lead to symptoms of bone pain, muscle weakness and
delayed healing of fractures.
Blood levels of calcium are tightly regulated by hormones, including
calcitonin and vitamin D. These hormones control absorption from the
intestine, excretion from the kidney and the rate of bone formation
and breakdown. If there is a calcium deficiency, calcium is
extracted from the bones to maintain blood levels.
Bones - Osteoporosis, which literally means ‘porous
bones’ is the result of calcium deficiency and in some cases can
be so severe as to cause the bones to break under the weight of the
body. Particularly badly affected bones include the spinal
vertebrae, the thigh bone and the radius (shorter arm bone). The
symptoms of osteoporosis may be absent until fractures occur,
although in some cases there may be back pain.
Postmenopausal women are especially prone to osteoporosis, although
the problem occurs in a similar way in men. Most of the bone loss
seen in osteoporosis occurs in the first 5-6 years after menopause
due to a decline in circulating estrogens and an age-related
reduction in vitamin D production.
Getting enough calcium early in life is vital for bones to reach
their maximum density so that they are as strong as possible to
support the body, even when they lose density later in life. Studies
show that calcium intake in the 11-24 age group is often below the
recommended levels with serious consequences for later life. It is
never too late to slow the bone loss seen in osteoporosis, and early
postmenopausal years are an important time to ensure optimal intake.
There may be a genetic component in osteoporosis in addition to
behavioral and hormonal factors. Body weight is the factor most
frequently linked to bone mineral density and in women, body fat may
be at least as important as muscle in maintaining bone mineral
content. Bone loss is found to be up to 11% greater during the night. Calcium
levels are also lowest during the night and may be affected by the
concentration of the hormone cortisol. These findings may offer new
hope for the support of osteoporosis.
Studies have shown that calcium is deficient in the diets of many
women with around 35% of women suffering from osteoporosis after
menopause. The average daily intake in the U.S. is 600mg and in many
countries calcium is the mineral in which people are most likely to
be deficient. Hip fractures cost $10 billion in the U.S. and $175
million per year in Australia.
A synthetic calcitonin nasal spray is available in the U.S. and
offers and alternative support for osteoporosis for women who cannot
tolerate the estrogen therapy that is the conventional support for
osteoporosis. Intake of calcium and vitamin D needs also to be
Digestive System - Calcium may also play a role in colon
health but further studies are necessary to confirm the link.
Researchers have found that people who eat a lot of foods containing
calcium are less likely to develop colon problems than those who eat
small amounts. Calcium may exert its protective effects by binding
to certain colon irritants. Calcium may also normalize the growth of
cells in the intestinal wall thus protecting the colon.
Blood Pressure - Calcium deficiency can lead to high blood
pressure. Increasing intake has been shown to lower blood pressure
in cases where there are deficiencies. Whether calcium can lower
blood pressure in cases where there are no apparent deficiencies is
Muscles - When calcium levels drop below normal, muscle
cramps can occur since low levels of calcium in the blood can
increase the sensitivity of the nerves and cause muscles to go into
spasm. Pregnant women whose diets are deficient in calcium are at
greatest risk of muscle cramps.
Teeth - Calcium's role in tooth development and health are
Supplements - Pregnant and breastfeeding women, postmenopausal women and vegans
may benefit from supplements. Some research shows that taking
calcium supplements later in life can slow the bone loss associated
Some studies have shown that calcium supplements support normal
blood pressure in mildly hypertensive patients although the results
are controversial. It is possible that supplements can be mainly of
benefit in cases where calcium intake is insufficient, which may be
relatively common. Increasing calcium intake may increase the
excretion of sodium thus normalizing blood pressure.
Different calcium supplements contain different amounts of calcium.
Carbonate contains 40% calcium, but citrate contain 21% calcium.
Calcium gluconate and calcium lactate, the two most soluble forms
contain 9% and 13% respectively. Bonemeal and dolomite are common
sources of calcium supplements but they may contain lead and cadmium
which can be toxic. Antacids are also good sources of calcium but
those containing aluminum or sodium should be avoided, since
aluminum inhibits calcium absorption and sodium can raise blood
pressure. Calcium citrate is an acidified form and may be absorbed better in
older people who often have low stomach acid.
Calcium carbonate can be taken in divided doses with meals in order
to avoid side effects such as nausea, gas and constipation.
Absorption of calcium carbonate may be increased with food while
other supplements may be best absorbed if taken between meals, since
there may be some reduction in absorption due to the presence in
foods containing certain fats and fiber. Another form of calcium supplement, calcium hydroxyapatite, is a
naturally occurring calcium phosphorus protein bonded matrix of bone
and is the actual protein calcium matrix found in bone.
Some calcium supplements can interfere with iron absorption and iron
and calcium supplements should be taken at different times although
calcium citrate and calcium ascorbate may enhance iron absorption as
they are acidic. When taken with magnesium supplements the ratio should be 2:1
calcium to magnesium.
As bone loses calcium at night some experts recommend taking
supplements in the evening to maintain blood calcium levels.
Calcium can be used to control the incidence of leg cramps in
pregnant women. It has also been shown to reduce menstrual muscle
tension and stress associated with premenstrual syndrome. Use of calcium supplements during pregnancy may support normal blood
pressure and normal delivery. During pregnancy, the fetus will
take calcium at the expense of maternal bones. Adequate
calcium is therefore extremely important during this time.
Recent studies have shown that slow-release calcium fluoride therapy
can reduce bone fractures and increase bone density in
postmenopausal women, although other researchers have found that
fluoride therapy can lead to calcium deficiency despite calcium
supplementation. Calcium may also be of benefit in the
support of allergies, normal mood and sleep, muscle and joint
Calcium is regulated by several things: vitamin D, which helps the
body absorb calcium and deposit it in the bones; calcitonin, which
enhances the ability of the bones to store calcium by transferring
calcium from the blood to the bones and inhibiting release;
parathyroid hormone, which regulates the transfer of calcium from
the bones to the blood; estrogens which help retain calcium in the
bones; and thyroid and growth hormones.
In the absence of vitamin D less than 10% of dietary calcium may be
Lead absorption is blocked by calcium in the intestines. Boron
supplementation may reduce the excretion of calcium. Antacids
containing aluminum can inhibit calcium absorption. Excessive
calcium can interfere with the absorption of copper, iron,
magnesium, manganese and zinc.
Calcium helps in the absorption of vitamin B-12. Calcium and magnesium and calcium and potassium are related in that
high levels of one can produce low levels of the other. Excessive
potassium can lower calcium levels. Calcium and phosphorus work together to form healthy bones and
teeth. If a person's phosphorus intake is too high the body excretes
the extra phosphorus and calcium along with it. Vitamins A and C enhance the transport of calcium through cell
membranes. Vitamin B-6 may enhance calcium function. High protein
diets can increase calcium excretion.
Large quantities of fat, oxalic acid (which is found in chocolate,
rhubarb and many dark green leafy vegetables) and phytic acid (which
is found in grains) can prevent calcium absorption. Large quantities
of sucrose can enhance calcium excretion. The contraceptive pill, anti-epileptic drugs, diuretic drugs,
corticosteroid drugs for rheumatoid arthritis, asthma and IBD and
some antidepressants can lead to deficiency as can smoking,
malabsorption due to lactose intolerance and absorption disorders
such as celiac disease. Calcium decreases the absorption of tetracycline antibiotics, iron
and aspirin if taken at the same time.
Caffeine and carbonated drinks can lead to calcium losses thus
contributing to high blood pressure.
Caution: You should not take calcium supplements if you have impaired kidney
function or if you suffer from constipation.