Calcium Essential for Good Sleep


Did you know that Calcium, the most abundant mineral in the human body, is not only essential for strong bones, it also supports healthy functioning of the cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, and nervous systems? Research shows a relationship between Calcium intake and risk for heart disease, colorectal cancer, kidney stones, PMS, and managing a healthy weight. When it comes to sound sleep, insufficient dietary Calcium has been associated with insomnia.

Calcium is instrumental in the way our brains cycle through the stages of sleep and in the ability to generate brain chemicals, including tryptophan, associated with deep sleep.

The best way to get calcium is through whole foods. Dairy products are abundant in the mineral in a form that’s easy for most people to digest. Non dairy sources of this mineral include almonds and dark leafy greens like kale swiss chard, mustard greens and spinach. And even spices contain calcium, try using cinnamon, basil and thyme in your dishes. However, figuring out how much calcium you’re actually getting from veggies is tricky. If a vegetable contains oxalic or phytic acid, then the calcium may be poorly absorbed because of the acids. For example, 1 c. of frozen spinach contains nearly as much calcium as 1 c. of milk, but only a tenth as much is absorbed because of the oxalic acid.

For a healthy adult, the recommended intake for a Calcium supplement is 1,000 – 2,000 mg daily, depending on health status and lifestyle habits including exercise. There are many factors and forms of calcium supplements (e.g., carbonate, citrate), that affect how well the body absorbs the mineral. Also, calcium supplements can interact with other medications. Too much calcium can stress other bodily systems, leading to health problems. For these reasons, you may want to take the micronutrient blood test. This is a blood test that measures the amount of vitamins, minerals and amino acids in your body. It also looks at the strength of your immune system and the antioxidant levels in your blood.

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Calcium: Linus Pauling Institute of Micronutrient Information

Calcium Supplements: University of Maryland Medical Center Database

Calcium Information: University of Maryland Medical Center

Medline Plus: Types of Calcium Supplements

National Institutes of Health Consumer Fact Sheet

Partinen, M., et al., “Nutrition, Sleep and Sleep Disorders – Relations of Some Food Constituents and Sleep” as cited in Pharmacology and Nutritional Intervention in the Treatment of Disease (Chapter 7, p. 191-223)

Zeng, Yawen et al. “Strategies of Functional Foods Promote Sleep in Human Being.” Current Signal Transduction Therapy 9.3 (2014): 148–155. PMC. Web. 13 Oct. 2015.

Grandner, Michael A. et al. “Sleep Symptoms Associated with Intake of Specific Dietary Nutrients.” Journal of sleep research 23.1 (2014): 22–34. PMC. Web. 13 Oct. 2015.

Somlak Chuengsamarn, et al. “Comparing the Effect of Short Term Post Meals and Bedtime Calcium Supplementation on the C-Terminal Telopeptide Crosslinks and PTH Levels in Postmenopausal Osteopenic Women” Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand. June 2005.

Siwek, Magdalena Elisabeth et al. “The CaV2.3 R-Type Voltage-Gated Ca2+ Channel in Mouse Sleep Architecture.” Sleep 37.5 (2014): 881–892. PMC. Web. 15 Oct. 2015.

Barbosa, R., et al., “Tryptophan hydroxylase is modulated by L-type calcium channels in the rat pineal gland.” Life Science. 2008 Feb 27;82(9-10):529-35. doi: 10.1016/j.lfs.2007.12.011. Epub 2007 Dec 23.

How Well Does Calcium Really Protect Your Bones?



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