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Calcium 101

What do PMS, colon cancer, high blood pressure and osteoporosis have in common?  A secret enemy:  calcium.  Women have heard for years that adequate calcium intake--from food or supplements--protects bones and delays osteoporosis.  Recent research shows that calcium's value extends to many other functions as well.  However, women should know that while adequate calcium is a critically important dietary component, especially for younger women, calcium alone is no better than placebo when it comes to preventing or treating osteoporosis in menopausal women. 

Calcium's biggest treatment value may be with PMS.  One study showed that women who took 1,200 mg of calcium per day had far fewer PMS symptoms than those who didn't. In other studies, teenagers with high blood pressure saw big reductions after taking 1500 mg of calcium per day, or 5 glasses of skim milk.  Two other studies have shown that improved calcium intake can reduce the growth of precancerous colon polyps.

The more we learn about calcium, the more benefits we discover.  Calcium can aid digestion, improve wound healing and blood clotting, and reduce muscle cramps.  Yet the majority of adult American women and teenage girls are getting an inadequate daily intake of this important mineral. 

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Created: 7/27/2001  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.
Reviewed: 6/30/2003  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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