Friday, March 12, 2010

Get More Calcium and Live Longer: Study

Source: Reuters Health (Summary by NIM)

Calcium: most people know it keeps their bones strong, but it's also vital for muscle contractions, the release of neurotransmitters and it keeps your heart pumping. And according to a new study, higher intakes of calcium may quite simply help you live longer.

In a new study out of Sweden, it was found that men who consumed the most calcium, upwards of 2,000mg per day, had a 25% lower risk of dying than their lower-calcium intake counterparts. The current RDA for calcium is 1,000mg - which is precisely the amount considered 'low' in this study, leading the researchers to conclude that "Intake of calcium above that recommended daily may reduce all-cause mortality,".

The researchers have stated that calcium could reduce the risk of dying in a number of ways, including by reducing blood pressure, cholesterol, or blood sugar levels. For the men in the study, the main sources of calcium in the diet were milk and milk products and cereal products.

Dairy is the gold standard when it comes to calcium, since it contains various factors that aid in the absorption of calcium, and it's very low in calories for the amount of calcium you get. The amount of calcium in a cup of whole almonds, 378 milligrams, is slightly more than in a cup of milk, about 300 milligrams, but you would be consuming about eight times as many calories.

Not everyone can tolerate dairy the same way though; many of us are lactose-intolerant and others abstain from consuming dairy for various reasons. Overall, however, there's really no excuse for a low calcium intake considering the many available sources, such as seaweeds like kelp, wakame and hijiki; nuts and seeds (like almonds and sesame); blackstrap molasses, beans, oranges, figs, quinoa, amaranth, collard greens, okra, rutabaga, broccoli, dandelion leaves, kale, and fortified products such as orange juice and soy milk.

Find out more about this study and calcium by reading the article called "Calcium may help you live longer: study" From Reuters Health (Mar. 11, 2010).