While women have access to specialized multivitamins, these often aren’t enough. Even when used to support a varied diet, it’s still common for women to experience deficiencies that not only increase your likelihood of developing certain conditions, but also bar you from the benefits these nutrients may offer. One of the most potent minerals for women’s health is calcium, as it offers a wide range of benefits for the organs, bones, and chemical processes throughout the body.
With their high fat content, you likely don’t associate dairy products like milk and cheese with a healthy body weight. However, it’s actually quite the opposite. Dairy products are a rich, natural source of calcium, which plays a vital role in weight maintenance. Calcium is responsible for the control of parathyroid levels in the bloodstream, a hormone that regulates the breakdown of body fat. Women who maintain this balance are on average less likely to encounter obesity.
While often exaggerated, for many women their menstrual cycle can have profound effects on mood. Typically occurring two weeks before menstruation, an increase of anxiety, depression, unpredictable mood, and other symptoms can be difficult because of their sudden onset. Calcium’s role in this is fairly complex, but essentially the mechanisms that are responsible for calcium regulation have a negative effect with progesterone and estrogen when there is a deficiency, leading to PMS mood symptoms. Calcium supplements can help regulate this, thus keeping your periodic depression and anxiety in check.
You likely know that calcium is essential for healthy teeth and bone development in both children and young adults. What many women don’t know is that calcium absorption begins to decrease roughly when turning 30, leading to osteopenia, arthritis, and other signs of deterioration. Taking a combination of calcium and Vitamin D, which aids absorption of calcium by the body, can support proper bone development during growth periods and thereby lessen the impact of declining absorption that women face later in life.
Kidney and Ureteral Stone Prevention
While commonly thought of as a men’s issue, countless women suffer from kidney stones. Contrary to popular belief, these stones are not actually caused by dietary calcium, but are the result of mineral excess in drinking water. Furthermore, dietary calcium can actually reduce the likelihood of stones forming. Ureteral stones are especially prevalent among pregnant women and can bring with them a host of difficulties and complications. Having ureteral stones during pregnancy can be combatted with calcium supplements, adequate hydration, and controlling levels of dietary oxalate.
Also routinely discussed as a men’s issue, roughly half of all adults diagnosed with hypertension, or high blood pressure, are women. Birth control pills and pregnancy are causes of hypertension unique to women, but adequate calcium consumption can help to minimize them. Calcium helps the muscles of the heart to relax and contract effectively and has also been linked to lower blood pressure along with fewer instances of cardiovascular disease.
While eating a varied diet is the foundation of your health, women have additional nutrient and vitamin needs that won’t necessarily be met by food alone. Calcium plays a key role in women’s health, so avoiding deficiency is essential. Beyond that, adding calcium supplements to your diet offers a host of benefits and, while not a cure, in some cases can support the body in dealing with certain health conditions.