In order to lessen cases of osteoporosis, beverages and foods rich in calcium are very essential. However, calcium is one complex substance and a lot of factors can influence calcium absorption, including the type of calcium consumed, whether the calcium has been consumed with an empty stomach or after eating, and the food taken together with it as well as the overall calcium amount consumed for a given time.
Significance of Calcium
Sufficient intake of calcium is needed for developing and maintaining the health of your bones all your life. Aside from that, calcium also regulates various bodily activities, which include the dilation of the blood vessel, the brain’s neuron processes, muscle contraction and hormone secretion. Individuals who are experiencing some difficulty of absorbing sufficient calcium are require to increase the calcium amount they are getting from their diet or other supplements.
What You Should Know about Calcium Absorption
As mentioned, there are several factors which affect the amount of calcium that can be absorbed by the gut. These factors include your age, calcium amount consumed at a single time, intake of vitamin D, calcium types consumed and other components of food.
Babies and young children can absorb more calcium than adults, almost 60% more, as they require all the support they can get to enhance bone growth. The body’s absorption of calcium is reduced when you reach adulthood and it will continue to do so as you age. According to the Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine, adults can only absorb about 15 to 20 percent of the calcium they take in.
Calcium absorption may be actually lessened when a meal’s calcium content is increased. This is the reason why it is highly recommended for people to consume only 500 mg of calcium at most for each serving. Low levels of serum vitamin D can also reduce the calcium absorption in your intestines. Meanwhile, phytic acid, mainly found in the whole grain products, seeds, nuts, beans, soybeans as well as soy protein, can bind with calcium and inhibit its absorption. Similarly, oxalic acid found commonly in beans, sweet potatoes and dark green leafy vegetables such as raw spinach (cooked is OK) can bind with calcium as well and result in inhibited absorption. And although some dietary fibers can lessen calcium absorption, inulin, a prebiotic fiber, can actually enhance calcium absorption.
This is not to say that you shouldn’t eat raw spinach, as it is an excellent source of vital nutrients, including magnesium – and while cooking will make it more amenable to calcium absorption, it will also deprive you of many of these important nutrients. Just be aware, and keep your diet balanced – don’t rely on one food too much.
Now that more and more people are consuming less than the required calcium intake, calcium fortified beverages and foods can help fill up any gap. This will give consumers more choices for them to meet their needs for calcium. Fortification must be carefully considered and must also be related to other nutrients needed for bone building like vitamins K2 and D, and magnesium.
Calcium is essential to having a healthy life. Although it is essential, though, make sure that you also look into the various considerations when consuming calcium. Learning more about proper calcium absorption can help you to get the most out of your calcium intake.