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 Calcium supplements - side effects

Why Do We Need Calcium?

One of the most important minerals human body needs in order to grow and develop properly and to maintain healthy state is calcium. In case a person has healthy and well-balanced diet the intake of calcium is optimal. However, in case of poor diet and certain medical conditions people may be prescribed with calcium supplements.

Calcium is a vital component of many structures in the body. For example, it is the main constituent of our bones and teeth. Furthermore, it plays an important role in transmission of nerve impulses. Stimulation of hormone productions and regulation of heart beats are two more significant functions of calcium.

In case the doctor opts for calcium supplements he/she chooses the most convenient dose and is supposed to warn the patient about all potential side effects. By recognizing side effects of calcium the person will be able to promptly discontinue calcium supplement and consult the doctor about further steps in the treatment.

What Are Side Effects of Calcium?

Majority of side effects of calcium supplements are connected to the gastrointestinal tract. Flatulence (also known as bloating) is a common side effect of calcium supplements. Normally gas passes through the gastrointestinal tract and is released via rectum. However, during the intake of calcium supplements one may suffer from excessive production of gas. Fortunately, flatulence only occurs if supplements are taken for a longer period of time. Nausea and vomiting are two more side effects of calcium supplements. These problems particularly occur if supplements are taken between meals or if they are taken in large doses. The doctor may recommend other brand of the supplement in order to eliminate these problematic side effects. Excessive intake of calcium supplement may cause constipation. Constipation is considered a common side effect and is usually accompanied by flatulence. Higher doses of calcium reduce production of saliva and cause several problems such as swallowing difficulty, changes in taste and digestion problems. And finally, these supplements may cause stomach pain (particularly if taken in higher doses), loss of appetite and frequent belching.

Even though majority of calcium side effects actually cause problems within the gastrointestinal tract there are several more problems associated with the intake of this supplement. One must pay attention to the intake of calcium and never exceed the recommended dose. Intake of way too much calcium always leads to calcium toxicity. Excess of calcium may cause confusion, seizures, coma and sudden death. The supplement is not supposed to be taken at the same time with certain drugs. Calcium may cause insufficient absorption of certain medications and it can also increase absorption of other drugs and induce their toxicity. This is why one should avoid taking calcium together with other prescribed or over-the-counter drugs. And finally, some studies have shown that the intake of calcium supplements increases the risk of heart attack.

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