Too Much Calcium May Hurt Kidneys, Heart In Some
Nutritionist: Getting calcium from food, rather that supplements, is best
Calcium is a good thing. Too much calcium might cause kidney and heart problems, but you shouldn't have to worry as long as you get your calcium from food rather than supplements.
Research shows that large quantities of calcium may help cause kidney stones in some people and may contribute to coronary disease, especially in women. But Theresa Rohr-Kirchgraber, director of the I.U. National Center For Excellence in Women's Health, says if you are getting three-to-four servings of dairy per day, your body is getting exactly the amount of calcium it needs regardless of age or gender. "The problem comes when people instead of eating appropriate foods, try to compensate by a pill. You can't get your food in a pill."
Rohr-Kirchgraber says she doesn't completely buy in to studies linking excessive calcium to health problems, particularly those with the heart. "It's not exactly clear how much they were taking and when they started taking it, and perhaps how much damage there already was in their coronary arteries that might have made this a little bit worse."
Some people run into trouble when they get their calcium from supplements, particularly people who neglected to eat calcium-rich foods early in life and try to make up for it by loading up on supplements as they get older. Even if you don't experience problems with your heart or kidneys, Rohr-Kirchgraber says your body cannot make up a calcium deficit that way.
For those who are lactose intolerant, Rohr-Kirchgraber says most can digest one cup of milk per day. Many who have trouble digesting lactose are also able to eat yogurt and most cheeses without problems.
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