Calcium is important for everyone's overall health, but most medical professionals emphasize the importance of calcium for women for several reasons. In general, women are more prone to certain health conditions brought on by calcium deficiencies, such as osteoporosis and high blood pressure. Beginning in childhood, calcium plays a critical role in increasing and maintaining bone strength throughout one's life. Bone mass usually reaches its peak around age 30 in women, after which certain factors can cause bones to weaken and require calcium supplementation. While calcium is generally considered beneficial, women are usually advised to avoid taking too much calcium and to be aware of its possible negative side effects.
Doctors stress the importance of calcium for women mainly in order to maintain bone strength, which is critical for a number of reasons. Healthy bones are necessary in order to support various bodily functions; they do not just store calcium, but they also protect organs and muscles. Strong bones also promote good posture by supporting one's frame. In general, women are at a higher risk than men for loss of bone strength, often resulting in osteoporosis. Additionally, women with small frames and those who have already gone through menopause are at an even higher risk for osteoporosis.
There are several types of foods that are good sources of calcium for women. In addition to low-fat dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese, some foods rich in calcium include broccoli; kale; and other green, leafy vegetables. Other sources include calcium-fortified juices, certain soy products, and canned seafood containing the bones. Most nutrition experts recommend that women get a minimum amount of vitamin D as well, as it can aid calcium absorption.
Some people prefer to take calcium supplements instead of eating calcium-rich foods, or they may need more calcium than they are able to get from their diets. Common supplements that provide additional calcium for women include calcium carbonate and calcium citrate. In addition, prescription medications containing calcium are commonly recommended for preventing and treating bone loss later in life.
Despite the importance of calcium for women, there are some side effects and potential drug interactions to note. Too much calcium, for example, can cause heart problems and possibly strokes in some people. Excessive calcium intake has also been known to hinder iron and zinc absorption. Individual cases may vary, so women are normally advised to consult their health care providers for specific recommendations regarding their calcium requirements.