Calcium Supplements Cannot Prevent Fat Mass Accumulation ; Look Up Calcium Source from Dietary Intakes for Kids

Calcium Supplements Cannot Prevent Fat Mass Accumulation ; Look Up Calcium Sourc

Dietary supplements are products that include vitamins, minerals, amino acids, herbs, or botanicals (plants) - or any concentration, extract, or combination of these - as part of their ingredients. You can purchase dietary supplements in pill, gel capsule, liquid, or powder forms.

How safe are they? In many cases, no one really knows. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which normally checks out the safety of foods and medicines before they come on the market, does not check on the safety of dietary supplements before they're sold. The FDA has to wait until it receives reports of problems caused by supplements before it can investigate and ban a dietary supplement. This is what happened with the herb ephedra (also called ma huang or herbal fen-phen) in 2003 when the FDA pulled the supplement from the U.S. market after it was linked to the death of a well-known baseball player.

You may not realize the number of products you use in a given day that are regulated by the FDA. The label on the juice you drink for breakfast, the cosmetics you apply before work, the array of dietary supplements you take before dashing out the door, the food you feed your pets, the aspirin you take after a long day, and the contact lenses you place on your eyes are all regulated by this Rockville, Maryland-based agency. Because of the FDA, Americans largely can take for granted that these products are safe.

This means that if you take an untested supplement, you are serving as the manufacturer's unpaid guinea pig and risking your own health.Some athletes take dietary supplements believing that these improve their performances. However, claims for these improvements are often exaggerated or not based on scientific evidence.

The amount of fatty tissue that young children gain as they grow has little to do with their calcium intake, a new study shows recently.

There is some evidence linking adequate calcium consumption to lower body fat percentage. But based on her study, Dr. Bonny L. Specker of South Dakota State University in Brookings, said, rather than giving kids calcium supplements, "you're going to want to get them out playing and running around to prevent obesity."

To investigate whether calcium intake might affect body fat in children, Specker and colleagues analyzed results from a one-year trial of calcium supplementation in 178 children aged 3 to 5 years.

There was no relationship betweem calcium intake and fat mass gain, except among the children who were consuming the lowest levels of calcium. For these children, there was a weak relationship, with children receiving calcium supplements gaining 0.3 kilograms in fat mass compared to 0.8 for those who weren't taking the supplements.

Among children with very low calcium intake, Specker noted, issues of bone health are more of a concern than body fat levels.

In general, she added, children in this age group get plenty of calcium. For children aged 1 to 3 years, she said, 500 milligrams of the mineral are recommended daily, while the requirement rises to 800 milligrams a day for kids 4 to 8 years old. In the current study, daily calcium intake averaged 900 mg.

She and her colleagues say their study "suggests that if calcium intake is important, it is a weak relation that exists only among children with low dietary intakes. If children consume the recommended dietary intakes of calcium to optimize bone health, additional calcium is not likely to prevent fat mass accumulation."

Calcium supplements can impair absorption of some medications, such as iron supplements and certain antibiotics and blood pressure drugs. For this reason, you shouldn't take calcium at the same time as these medications. Consult your doctor or pharmacist regarding any possible interactions between calcium and other medications you take.

Source of calcium:

Many foods contain calcium, but dairy products are the most significant source. Milk and dairy products such as yogurt, cheeses, and buttermilk contain an efficiently absorbed form of calcium.

For children aged 1-2 years, whole milk (4% fat) is recommended. The fat content of dairy products is a concern for adults and children over the age of 2. You can easily reduce the fat content while maintaining the calcium content by selecting low-fat (2% or 1%) or skim milk and other diary products.

The calcium is not contained in the "fat portion" of milk, so removing the fat will not affect the calcium content. In fact, when you replace the fat portion that has been removed with an equal part of skimmed milk, you are actually increasing the calcium content. Therefore, one cup of skim or non-fat milk will have more calcium than one cup of whole milk because almost the entire cup of skim milk is the made up of the calcium-containing portion!

Other dairy products such as yogurt, most cheeses, and buttermilk are excellent sources of calcium and are available in low-fat or fat-free versions.

Milk is also a good source of phosphorus and magnesium, which help the body absorb and use the calcium more effectively. Vitamin D is essential for efficient utilization of calcium. Milk is fortified with vitamin D for this reason.

Green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, collards, kale, mustard greens, turnip greens, and bok choy or Chinese cabbage are good sources of calcium. Certain green vegetables are less effective sources of calcium. While their calcium content appears to be high, their fiber and oxalic acid content interferes with the absorption of calcium.

Other sources of calcium are salmon and sardines canned with their soft bones. Shellfish, almonds, Brazil nuts, and dried beans are also sources of calcium. It is difficult, however, to eat adequate quantities of these foods to achieve optimal calcium intake.

Several food products, such as breads and orange juice, are enriched with calcium to make them a significant source of calcium for people whose dairy product consumption is inadequate.


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