You don't have to be a geologist to know that minerals are important. Our bodies need some inorganic substances like iron, calcium and chromium for proper health. Plants obtain these nutrients from the earth, and we humans may obtain them from plants. If you're not getting enough of a particular mineral, there are a wide array of mineral supplements available. Often it is not as easy to take in or absorb minerals by themselves, so look for recommendations about taking supplements with a meal or seeing how supplements are frequently combined - like calcium with vitamin D.
1 AnswerThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates supplements, such as calcium, differently than it regulates medications. Supplement manufacturers, not the FDA, are responsible for making sure their products are safe. The FDA does not evaluate health claims made about supplements or require calcium supplement makers to prove that their products are effective for any health condition. Therefore, it is up to the consumer to do research on effectiveness of supplements and to determine which brand or formulation is right for him.
1 AnswerWhile some people believe that calcium can help with sleep, there is limited evidence to support this. However, if calcium helps with a condition such as heartburn that is keeping you awake, then it may, in a roundabout way, help you sleep.
Talk to your doctor if you are having trouble falling or staying asleep. He or she may recommend lifestyle changes, a medication or a dietary supplement supported by better evidence.
1 AnswerCalcium carbonate, a common form of calcium, is an effective treatment for indigestion and heartburn. It is the active ingredient in many over-the-counter antacids, such as Tums, Tums Kids, Rolaids Extra Strength Softchews and Maalox Regular Strength Chewables.
If you take calcium-containing antacids on a regular basis, remember to consider that as you track your calcium intake so you don’t get too much. Adults should not get more than 2,500 milligrams (mg) of calcium per day on a regular basis. You should also tell your doctor about your frequent indigestion or heartburn, as this could be a sign of a more serious condition, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
1 AnswerCalcium's effect on weight isn't well understood. A number of studies have found that people who get plenty of calcium in their diet tend to weigh less -- and gain less weight over time -- than people who consume less of the mineral. But it's not clear if calcium is responsible for the difference or if the real key is an unrecognized factor that tends to go along with a high-calcium diet. One reason for the uncertainty: When researchers have tried boosting calcium levels through food or supplements, it generally hasn't helped people lose weight.
1 AnswerChromium, an essential mineral, is available as a dietary supplement, so it is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) like a prescription or even an over-the-counter medication. It is regulated more like a food. That means manufacturers are responsible for making sure that the chromium supplements they sell are safe. It also means that the FDA does not evaluate a manufacturer's claims about the benefits you may get from taking a chromium supplement.
If you are taking a chromium supplement to help with a medical condition such as diabetes, you should educate yourself about the research, and work with your doctor on the best treatment plan for you.
1 AnswerIf you take high doses of chromium supplements for weeks or months, you may develop serious health problems, but the danger from taking too much just once is likely to be small. Some people get headaches, experience sleep problems and become irritable from taking chromium. Taking high doses for a long time can cause anemia and liver and kidney problems. If you feel sick after taking too much chromium, call your doctor or get immediate medical attention.
1 AnswerChromium supplements, which are sometimes used for diabetes and other ailments common in elderly people, are safe at appropriate doses. The Institute of Medicine suggests that it is safe for adults to take up to 200 micrograms (mcg) for up to six months. Taking chromium for longer may be okay, but that hasn't been studied thoroughly. In some small studies, chromium has been given safely in doses of 200 to 1,000 mcg for up to 16 months.
Chromium supplements can cause problems if they're taken with insulin for diabetes or medications for low thyroid levels. They may also interact with painkillers like aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox). It’s important that your elderly parent talk to his or her doctor about whether to take chromium.
1 AnswerYou shouldn't give a child more than the Adequate Intake (AI) of chromium for his age, because higher doses haven't been fully studied. However, most supplements contain larger amounts, so check the label. Talk to your child’s doctor before giving your child any supplement or medication.
Here is the AI for children by age:
- birth to 6 months: 0.2 micrograms (mcg)
- ages 7 to 12 months: 5.5 mcg
- ages 1 to 3: 11 mcg
- ages 4 to 8: 15 mcg
- boys ages 9 to 13: 25 mcg
- girls ages 9 to 13: 21 mcg
- boys and girls ages 14 to 18: 24 mcg
1 AnswerChromium, an essential mineral available as a dietary supplement, can interact with several medications. These include insulin used to treat diabetes and levothyroxine (Synthroid, Levoxyl, Levothroid and others) for low thyroid levels. Some painkillers (ibuprofen, naproxen, aspirin) may also increase the amount of chromium you absorb.
Before you take chromium supplements, talk with your pharmacist about your prescription and over-the-counter medications, as well as any dietary supplements you take, to avoid an interaction.
1 AnswerDavid Slovik, Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism, answeredThe amount of calcium you need varies by age. A few studies suggest that men who get too much calcium may be more likely to develop advanced prostate cancer, but the evidence isn't conclusive at this point. Some experts think only levels above 1,500 or 2,000 mg a day are problematic. Others say that too much calcium in the bloodstream may increase the risk of advanced prostate cancer, but that dietary calcium has little effect on calcium in the bloodstream. For women, getting high amounts of calcium seems to produce a slightly greater risk of developing kidney stones.