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What is Calcium

Calcium supplements are salts of calcium used in a number of conditions. Supplementation is generally only required when there is not enough calcium in the diet. By mouth they are used to treat and prevent low blood calcium, osteoporosis, and rickets. By injection into a vein they are used for low blood calcium that is resulting in muscle spasms and for  high blood or magnesium toxicity.

Dr John Wade, MD, FRCP, discusses the benefits and uses of calcium.

Quiz: Do You Understand Calcium & Vitamin D?

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Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the least common types of inflammatory arthritis.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is one of the most common types of inflammatory arthritis. It’s a chronic, long-term disease that progresses over time.

Rheumatoid arthritis usually only affects a few joints long-term.

Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include joint pain, swelling and stiffness. At first, rheumatoid arthritis usually only attacks a few joints, but over time it affects more.

Vitamin D deficiency is common in people with rheumatoid arthritis.

Vitamin D deficiency is common in people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and may even be linked to musculoskeletal pain. People with arthritis commonly take oral steroids, which can also contribute to vitamin D deficiency.

Food is your best source of vitamin D and calcium

Food is your best source of vitamin D and calcium. You can get calcium from foods such as low-fat milk, cheese and yogurt. Foods rich in vitamin D include fatty fish like tuna and salmon, egg yolks and cheese.

Your rheumatologist will always recommend you take Vitamin D and calcium supplements if you have RA.

If you don't get enough vitamin D and calcium from food, you may need to take a supplement.
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Dr John Wade, MD, FRCP, Rheumatologist discusses pre-conditions requiring both calcium and vitamin D.

What is Calcium

Calcium is an important supplement like a number of other minerals that we take.

We get calcium primarily in our diet and the importance is that calcium is important for your health and your teeth, for your bone and for muscles as well as some other function of cells. So, calcium is a crucial supplement that we all take and it is important we get the right amount of calcium in our diet.

So, we get calcium in all sorts of foods. The average, typical non-dairy diet would give us about 300 to 700 milligrams of calcium a day.

We like to target calcium around 1200 milligrams a day, so most people who are not taking any extra dairy product in their diet will need some extra calcium.

There are two ways to do that. You can actually add dairy to your diet. Calcium and dairy is an excellent source of calcium. An eight-ounce glass of milk will give you 300 milligrams of calcium.

Six ounces of yogurt can give you about 300 milligrams of calcium. So, you have a glass of milk and six ounces of yogurt a day, you have 600 milligrams plus your diet, you probably get pretty close to 1200 milligrams a day.

So, it is fairly easy to get it. Typically, most adults if they are avoiding calcium will get a little bit less than they should, so you may want to take a little bit of supplement of calcium.

Presenter: Dr. John Wade, Rheumatologist, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Rheumatologist

What is the Right Amount of Calcium for Good Nutrition?

First of all, you can add milk, yogurt or cheese.

One cup of milk has 300 milligrams of calcium, three-quarters of a cup of yogurt has about 250 milligrams, and hard cheeses can have up to 450 milligrams per ounce and a half.

Canned salmon with the bones is a good way of adding some calcium, but you need to make sure that you’re crushing up those bones. Add them to your salmon sandwich or on top of a salad for an extra protein source.

If you’re looking for more information about how to increase your calcium intake, ask your local registered dietitian.

Presenter: Ms. Diana Steele, Registered Dietitian, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Registered Dietitian

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