Pregnancy Use

Many trials have established the safety of calcium supplementation during pregnancy in doses up to 2000 mg elemental calcium per day.

PRACTICE POINTS/PATIENT COUNSELLING

• Calcium is an essential mineral required for the proper functioning of numerous intracellular and extracellular processes, including muscle contraction, nerve conduction, beating of the heart, hormone release, blood coagulation, energy production and maintenance of immune function.

• Low calcium states are associated with several serious diseases such as colorectal cancer, osteoporosis types I and II, hypertension, pre-eclampsia and eclampsia.

• Although supplementation is traditionally used to correct or avoid deficiency states, research has also shown a role in the prevention of osteoporosis, pre-eclampsia and management of numerous disease states (e.g. PMS).

• Calcium can interact with numerous drugs and should be used with caution by people with renal disease or hyperparathyroid conditions.

ANSWERS TO PATIENTS' FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What will this supplement do for me?

Calcium is essential for health and wellbeing. Although used to prevent or treat deficiency states, and primarily associated with BMD, it is also beneficial in a wide range of conditions such as prevention of pre-eclampsia, some forms of hypertension, maintenance of fetal growth, treatment of lead toxicity and PMS. It is considered to be a critical nutrient in pregnancy. When will it start to work?

This will depend on the indication it is being used to treat; however, in most instances Calcium 164

long-term administration is required (i.e. months to years).

Are there any safety issues?

In very high doses, calcium supplements can cause some side-effects, including constipation, but generally calcium is considered very safe and has a wide therapeutic range. High-dose supplements should not be used by people taking some medications. (See SIGNIFICANT INTERACTIONS above for specific information.)

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