I love to read about all things health-especially women’s health. One of my favorite past times is scouring articles/books for new information or just rereading information I already know.
Lately, I have stumbled upon multiple resources talking about calcium. After reading about it more, I found that there are some clear benefits for it when it comes to women’s health. In this post I will be discussing those benefits and just calcium in general.
What calcium is and where to find it
Calcium is a mineral. It is essential for our bones, heart, muscles and nerves to work.
In short, we need it!
Many foods contain calcium and some have a lot more per serving than others. Below is a list of food that have the highest amount of calcium in their food groups:
- Fruits: Tangerines, oranges and kiwi.
- Vegetables: Collard greens, spinach and kale.
- Dairy: All milk, part-skim ricotta and plain yogurt.
- Fish: Canned salmon and canned sardines.
- Nuts and seeds: Almonds and sesame seeds.
- Protein: Whey protein powder, tofu, soybeans.
- Beans and legumes: White beans and edamame.
- Grains: Fortified grains.
It is also sold as a supplement by a variety of brands. You can find it in the form of tablets, capsules, liquid and powders. Some of these supplements only have calcium in them and others combine it with other things (usually Vitamin D and/or magnesium).
You also need to be wary of interactions between calcium supplements and other medications. There have been shown to be possible bad ones when taking diuretics, thyroid medication and antibiotics at the same time.
The recommended daily intake of calcium is no more than 1300 mg. Going over this amount may cause things like excess calcium in the blood, kidney stones, bowel problems and heart issues.
Conversely, extremely low levels of calcium in the body can cause problems too. These include tingling, muscle spasms, shortness of breath, wheezing, seizures, confusion and vomiting.
Calcium for women’s health
So now that we got the general stuff about calcium out of the way, let’s talk about how it can help us women (and nonbinary people of course)!
Our menstrual cycles-
Calcium has been found by multiple studies to reduce the PMS symptoms that many women experience during their menstrual cycles. Here is a list of some things the studies concluded:
- Just 500 mg of calcium reduces brain fog and mood issues.
- 1000-1200 mg of calcium reduces brain fog, mood issues, muscle/joint pain, fatigue and food cravings.
- 500 mg of calcium with 200 mg of Vitamin D reduce mood issues, fatigue and bloating.
- 500 mg of calcium with 40 mg of Vitamin B6 reduces mood issues, breast pain and bloating.
- 500 mg of calcium may reduce PMS symptoms just as well as a higher dose.
There was also one study that stated that calcium intake can help menstrual cramps and bloating during a woman’s period.
As mentioned before (and as most people know!), calcium is extremely important for our bones. When people get older, the risk for osteoporosis (weak bones) increases. Unfortunately for women, our risk is even higher than men’s risk due to our estrogen falling.
This is where calcium comes in.
It is important that women get enough calcium as we age to help prevent the weakening of bones from happening. Studies suggest that getting in around 1,000 mg of calcium per day (before and after the age of 50) can do this.
Proper intake of calcium is definitely important before, during and after pregnancy. Studies have shown that it may help prevent postpartum depression and help reduce the incidence of leg cramps. There is currently being more research done on both of these things.
Medical professionals state that 1,000 mg of calcium is the best amount to get in while pregnant. Since a lot of prenatal supplements either don’t have calcium in them or only a little- it is best to either get it through your diet or take a stand-alone supplement of it.
Mood issues in general-
There have been a few studies showing that women who have mood issues (such as depression) also have a low dietary intake of calcium. This has made researchers suggest that there is a correlation between calcium and our moods.
Will I supplement with calcium?
Not too long ago I did a post on using Claritin for PMS/PMDD and how it was working well for me. On top of still taking that everyday, I will now start upping my calcium intake a little.
I currently get 150 mg of it a day through the Vitamin B supplements I take. My plan is to boost that amount up to 500 mg a day to see what if anything happens to my PMS symptoms. While things have gotten better with them due to the Claritin, I still experience some discomfort.
If I can make things even easier before my period, that would be awesome!
Calcium may do wonders for women/non-binary people for a few reasons. If you are able to, it can be something you get from food or you can use supplements to get your intake up.
It is important to remember that too much of it is not a good thing so stick within the 500-1300 mg range.
Have you noticed if your calcium intake makes your PMS/PMDD better? Let me know!
Thanks for reading!
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