Dog Ticks and Fleas Q&A<br />WebMD veterinary experts answer commonly asked questions about fleas and ticks on your dog.<br />By Sandy EcksteinWebMD Pet Health Feature<br />Reviewed by Katherine Snyder, DVM, DACVIM, MD<br />Although there are more than 2,200 kinds of fleas, it only takes one type to cause a lot of misery for you and your pet. We went to internationally known flea and tick expert Michael Dryden to find out how to fight fleas and eliminate ticks. Dryden has a doctorate in veterinary parasitological, is a founding member of the Companion Animal Parasite Council, and has conducted research on almost every major flea and tick product on the market.<br />Q: How did my dog get these fleas and ticks?<br />A: The way animals get fleas is some other flea-infested animal - a stray dog or stray cat, or some other neighbors’ dog or cat, or urban wildlife, mainly opossums and raccoons - went through your neighborhood, your yard, and the female flea is laying eggs and the eggs are basically rained off into your environment. We call them a living salt shaker. And then those eggs developed into adults and those fleas jumped onto your pet. That’s how it happened.<br />Dogs generally get ticks because they’re out in that environment, walking through the woods or high grass, and these ticks undergo what’s called questing, where they crawl up on these low shrubs or grass, generally 18 to 24 inches off the ground and they basically hang out. And when the dog walks by or we walk by and brush up against these ticks they dislodge and get onto us. Ticks don’t climb up into trees. That’s an old myth. They just lie in wait for us. It’s sort of an ambush strategy. They can live well over a year without feeding.<br />Q: Can fleas and ticks cause my dog to get sick? What kinds of illnesses can she get from them?<br />A: Probably the most common thing is, when these fleas are feeding, they’re injecting saliva into the skin. These salivary proteins are often allergenic and animals end up with allergy. The most common skin disease of dogs and cats is what’s called flea allergy dermatitis, where they bite and scratch and lose their hair. It can take only a few fleas for this allergy to become a problem.<br />If you have a lot of fleas, since they’re blood-sucking insects, especially if you have puppies, pets can become anemic and even die with heavy infestations. Fleas also commonly transmit tapeworms to our pets, at least one species.<br />With ticks, there are a dozen to 15 or more tick-transmitted diseases that our pets get from ticks. There’s Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia,ehrlichiosis, and more. Many of these diseases can kill pets.<br />Q: Are fleas and ticks worse in some areas? Where?<br />A: Ticks and fleas can be worse from one area to another and can vary seasonally and from year to year. There’s one particular flea species that we find on dogs and cats in North America that predominates ... called Ctenocephalides felis, or the cat flea. That flea is very susceptible to drying. So that's why there are more fleas in Tampa than in Kansas City, and more fleas in Kansas City than Denver. Once you get into the Rocky Mountain States, for example, or even the Western areas of the plains states, fleas on dogs and cats are not that much of a problem because it’s just too dry. The Gulf Coast region of North America and the Southeast region are the flea capital. As you move inland, however, depending on the rainfall in a given year, it can be OK or get very horrid at times.<br />Ticks have different biologies and behaviors, of course. And certain areas have more tick problems than others. The upper Midwest and the extreme Northeast, from Pennsylvania up, have a very serious problem with the Lyme disease tick. But if you get down to the south central part of the United States, ticks also can be absolutely horrible. There are very few places in North America you can’t encounter ticks today, because there are so many different ticks.<br />Q: Can I stop using preventives in winter months, when all the fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes are dead?<br />A: It depends on where you’re located. In most of the United States, my answer today is “No” for various reasons. There are so many different tick species, and fleas can be a problem even late into the fall. If you get into some of the more northern states or into Canada, where they have very long, protracted winters, then it could be reasonable for several months. But even here in Eastern Kansas I don’t recommend stopping. We’ve only got about 40-45 days a year when we don’t see ticks.<br />Q: I know about Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, but now I’m hearing about new diseases my dog can get from ticks. Are these diseases rare? How worried should I be about my dog contracting a tick-borne disease?<br />A: It depends on where you live. Some of these diseases are local. What you have to do is, depending on where you live, talk to your veterinarian and find out what diseases are important in your area. The diseases that are important to dogs and cats in Kansas are not the same diseases that are important to dogs and cats in Connecticut.<br />Q: An environmental group has sued several pet stores and manufacturers claiming that flea collars have high concentrations of chemicals in them that are dangerous to pets and people. Are these over-the-counter flea collars safe?<br />A: I’m not a toxicologist and I try to steer clear of all that. But I will say that I believe the best way to manage fleas and ticks is go to your veterinarian and find out what products they recommend for your area. The issue we have with many of the over-the-counter products is that many are what we call pyrethroids, or synthetic pyrethrins. We know that is a class of insecticides that fleas are commonly resistant to, so one of the reasons over-the-counter formulations don’t work very well is that fleas are resistant to them. What that leads to is people tend to over apply them because they didn’t work that well and then you tend to have problems.<br />Q: There are also reports that the EPA is looking into an increase in adverse reactions from topically applied flea control products, the ones we usually put on our dogs and cats between their shoulder blades. So are these unsafe?<br />A: I generally believe, based on my experience and our field studies, that the products we get from our veterinarians are generally very safe and generally do a very, very good job. But you’ve got to understand that millions of doses are used each year. With that many doses, things happen. Do rare reactions occur? Absolutely. We know they do. But generally with a veterinary-recommended or prescribed flea or tick product, if they are used according to label directions, they are extremely safe in my experience.<br />Q: What are the best ways to control fleas and ticks?<br />A: Besides the flea products we’ve discussed, if you have a cat, don’t ever let it go outside. Try to keep your home as dry as possible. I would recommend not having any carpet because carpet is a flea’s best friend. Keep the brush and weeds in your yard to an absolute minimum.<br />Q: Are there natural ways I can control them if I don’t want to use chemicals?<br />A: There really aren’t from a natural standpoint. Over the years, we’ve spent some time looking into the more natural or holistic approaches and as yet I’ve not found any that’s actually effective. The garlic, the brewer’s yeast, all the research shows none of that stuff works. If it did, I’d be using it. The ultrasonic devices? The data shows they don’t work.<br />And just because something is “natural” or “organic” that doesn’t mean it’s safe. Most of the poisons in the world are actually organic poisons. Some of these citric extracts people used to use can be fairly toxic to cats. The cats’ livers just can’t handle them.<br />here is diatomacious earth, which is basically microscopic silicone particles that can be spread around in your carpet. They scratch or excoriate the flea larvae. But you’ve got to be a little careful. You don’t want to inhale the stuff, because now you’ve inhaled silicone particles into your lungs and where’s that going to go? There are pesticide control firms that apply that stuff appropriately, and when they do it’s very effective and it’s safe. But just make sure if you have somebody do it in your house it’s done appropriately. It’s a very good larvacidal and a flea preventive measure if it’s done correctly.<br />Q: How can I control fleas and ticks in my yard?<br />A: Cut the tall grass, trim back the bushes and shrubs, then rake up all the leaf litter under the bushes. Leave it just bare ground. There are some lawn and garden insecticides that are approved by the EPA to be applied under shrubs, under bushes, in crawl spaces, along fence lines, to control fleas and ticks outside. The big issue I see is people tend to go out and start spraying their grass. That’s not effective and it’s certainly not good for the environment. Fleas and ticks are really sunlight and humidity sensitive. Most situations where we find them are under shrubs, under bushes, under porches, in shaded, protected habitats. So we should only be applying those compounds in a limited fashion under those locations. Then we’re going to let it dry on the foliage for three to four hours before we allow our pets and our children back out there.<br />Top 10 Dog Poisons<br />Last year, there were more than 100,000 cases of pet poisoning in the U.S. Many of these were caused by substances you probably have in your home, substances that may seem perfectly harmless to you. But just because something is safe for people doesn’t mean it won’t hurt beloved pets. Some of the most dangerous dog poisons are foods and medications we take on a daily basis.<br />Depending on how a particular substance affects your dog’s body and how much was ingested or inhaled, pet poisoning symptoms can include gastrointestinal and neurological problems, cardiac and respiratory distress, coma, and even death.<br />Foods You Should Never Feed Your Dog <br />Top 10 Dog Poisons<br />Dog poison No. 1: Medications for people. Drugs that might be beneficial, or even life-saving, for people can have the opposite effect in pets. And it doesn’t always take a large dose to do major damage.<br />Some of the most common and harmful medications that poison dogs include:<br />Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, which can cause stomach and intestinal ulcers or kidney failure.<br />Antidepressants, which may cause vomiting and, in more serious instances, serotonin syndrome - a dangerous condition that raises temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure, and may cause seizures.<br />Isoniazid, a tuberculosis drug, is difficult for dogs to process. Even one tablet can cause problems in a small dog. Signs of poisoning include seizures and coma.<br />Dog poison No. 2: Flea and tick products. You may think you’re doing your dog a favor when you apply products marketed to fight fleas and ticks, but thousands of animals are unintentionally poisoned by these products every year. Problems can occur if dogs accidentally ingest these products or if small dogs receive excessive amounts.<br />Dog poison No. 3: People food. Your canine companion may look so cute as he sits there begging for a bite of your chocolate cake or a chip covered in guacamole, but not giving him what he wants could save his life. Animals have different metabolisms than people. Some foods and beverages that are perfectly safe for people can be dangerous, and sometimes fatal, for dogs.<br />Chocolate. Though not harmful to people, chocolate products contain substances called methylxanthines that can cause vomiting in small doses, and death if ingested in larger quantities. Darker chocolate contains more of these dangerous substances than do white or milk chocolate. The amount of chocolate that could result in death depends on the type of chocolate and the size of the dog. For smaller breeds, just half an ounce of baking chocolate can be fatal, while a larger dog might survive eating 4 to 8 ounces. Coffee and caffeine have similarly dangerous chemicals. <br />Alcohol. Symptoms of alcohol poisoning in animals are similar to those in people, and may include vomiting, breathing problems, coma and, in severe cases, death.<br />Avocado. You might think of them as healthy, but avocadoes have a substance called persin that can act as a dog poison, causing vomiting and diarrhea.<br />Macadamia nuts. Dogs may suffer from a series of symptoms, including weakness, overheating, and vomiting, after consumption of macadamia nuts.<br />Grapes and raisins. Experts aren’t sure why, but these fruits can induce kidney failure in dogs. Even a small number may cause problems in some dogs.<br />Xylitol. This sweetener is found in many products, including sugar-free gum and candy. It causes a rapid drop in blood sugar, resulting in weakness and seizures. Liver failure also has been reported in some dogs<br />Dog poison No. 4: Rat and mouse poison. Rodenticides, if ingested by dogs, can cause severe problems. The symptoms depend on the nature of the poison, and signs may not start for several days after consumption. In some instances, the dog may have eaten the poisoned rodent, and not been directly exposed to the toxin. <br />Dog poison No. 5: Pet medications. Just as we can be sickened or killed by medications intended to help us, cases of pet poisoning by veterinary drugs are not uncommon. Some of the more commonly reported problem medications include painkillers and de-wormers.<br />Dog poison No. 6: Household plants. They may be pretty, but plants aren’t necessarily pet friendly. Some of the more toxic plants to dogs include:<br />Azaleas and rhododendrons. These pretty flowering plants contain toxins that may cause vomiting, diarrhea, coma, and potentially even death.<br />Tulips and daffodils. The bulbs of these plants may cause serious stomach problems, convulsions, and damage to the heart.<br />Sago palms. Eating just a few seeds may be enough to cause vomiting, seizures, and liver failure.<br />Dog poison No. 7: Chemical hazards. Not surprisingly, chemicals contained in antifreeze, paint thinner, and chemicals for pools can act as dog poison. The pet poisoning symptoms they may produce include stomach upset, depression, and chemical burns.<br />Dog poison No. 8: Household cleaners. Just as cleaners like bleach can poison people, they are also a leading cause of pet poisoning, resulting in stomach and respiratory tract problems.<br />Dog poison No. 9: Heavy metals. Lead, which may be in paint, linoleum, and batteries, can be poisonous if eaten by your dog, causing gastrointestinal and neurological problems. Zinc poisoning may occur in dogs that swallow pennies, producing symptoms of weakness from severe anemia.<br />Dog poison No. 10: Fertilizer. Products for your lawn and garden may be poisonous to pets that ingest them.<br />What to do for suspected dog poisoning<br />If you think your dog has been poisoned, try to stay calm. It is important to act quickly, but rationally.<br />First, gather up any of the potential poison that remains -- this may be helpful to your veterinarian and any outside experts who assist with the case. If your dog has vomited, collect the sample in case your veterinarian needs to see it. <br />Then, try to keep your pet calm and call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) at (888) 426-4435. Experts at the APCC are available to answer questions and provide guidance 24 hours a day for a $60 consultation fee.<br />Poison Protection: Pet-Proofing Your House<br />The best way to reduce the chances that your beloved dog will be the victim of pet poisoning is by preventing exposure to dangerous substances.<br />Keep all medications, even those in child-proof bottles, in cabinets that are inaccessible to your dog. If you inadvertently drop a pill on the floor, be sure to look for it immediately. Supervise anyone, such as the elderly, who may need help taking medications.<br />Always follow guidelines on flea or tick products.<br />Although you can give some “people foods” safely to your pets as a treat, others are toxic. If you have any questions about what is safe, ask your veterinarian. Or, err on the safe side and give treats made specifically for animals.<br />Be sure any rodenticides you use are kept in metal cabinets or high on shelves where your pets can't find them. Remember that dogs can be fatally poisoned by eating an exposed rodent, so always be very cautious about using these products. Tell your neighbors if you put out rat bait, so they can protect their pets from exposure, and ask them to do the same for you.<br />When buying plants for your home, opt for those that won’t cause problems if your dog happens to nibble on them. The ASPCA has an online list of toxic and nontoxic plants by species. If you choose to have toxic plants, be sure they are kept in a place where your animals can't reach them.<br />Store all chemicals and cleaners in pet-inaccessible areas of your home<br />This article is about the metallic element. For the place, see Calcium, New York.<br />potassium ← calcium -> scandiumMg↑Ca↓Sr20CaPeriodic tableAppearanceDull gray, silverSpectral lines of CalciumGeneral propertiesName, symbol, numbercalcium, Ca, 20Pronunciation/ˈkælsiəm/ KAL-see-əmElement categoryalkaline earth metalGroup, period, block2, 4, sStandard atomic weight40.078(4) g·mol−1Electron configuration[Ar] 4s2Electrons per shell2, 8, 8, 2 (Image)Physical propertiesPhasesolidDensity (near r.t.)1.55 g·cm−3Liquid density at m.p.1.378 g·cm−3Melting point1115 K, 842 °C, 1548 °FBoiling point1757 K, 1484 °C, 2703 °FHeat of fusion8.54 kJ·mol−1Heat of vaporization154.7 kJ·mol−1Specific heat capacity(25 °C) 25.929 J·mol−1·K−1Vapor pressureP (Pa)1101001 k10 k100 kat T (K)8649561071122714431755Atomic propertiesOxidation states2(strongly basic oxide)Electronegativity1.00 (Pauling scale)Ionization energies(more)1st: 589.8 kJ·mol−12nd: 1145.4 kJ·mol−13rd: 4912.4 kJ·mol−1Atomic radius197 pmCovalent radius176±10 pmVan der Waals radius231 pmMiscellaneaCrystal structureface-centered cubicMagnetic orderingdiamagneticElectrical resistivity(20 °C) 33.6 nΩ·mThermal conductivity(300 K) 201 W·m−1·K−1Thermal expansion(25 °C) 22.3 µm·m−1·K−1Speed of sound (thin rod)(20 °C) 3810 m/sYoung's modulus20 GPaShear modulus7.4 GPaBulk modulus17 GPaPoisson ratio0.31Mohs hardness1.75Brinell hardness167 MPaCAS registry number7440-70-2Most stable isotopesMain article: Isotopes of calciumisoNAhalf-lifeDMDE (MeV)DP40Ca96.941%40Ca is stable with 20 neutrons41Catrace1.03×105 yε-41K42Ca0.647%42Ca is stable with 22 neutrons43Ca0.135%43Ca is stable with 23 neutrons44Ca2.086%44Ca is stable with 24 neutrons45Casyn162.7 dβ−0.25845Sc46Ca0.004%>2.8×1015 yβ−β− ?46Ti47Casyn4.536 dβ−0.694, 1.9947Scγ1.297-48Ca0.187%>4×1019 yβ−β− ?48Tiv • d • e<br />Calcium (pronounced /ˈkælsiəm/, KAL-see-əm) is the chemical element with the symbol Ca and atomic number 20. It has an atomic mass of 40.078 amu. Calcium is a soft gray alkaline earth metal, and is the fifth most abundant element by mass in the Earth's crust. Calcium is also the fifth most abundant dissolved ion in seawater by both molarity and mass, after sodium, chloride, magnesium, and sulfate.<br />Calcium is essential for living organisms, particularly in cell physiology, where movement of the calcium ion Ca2+ into and out of the cytoplasm functions as a signal for many cellular processes. As a major material used in mineralization of bones and shells, calcium is the most abundant metal by mass in many animals.<br />Chemically calcium is reactive and soft for a metal (though harder than lead, it can be cut with a knife with difficulty). It is a silvery metallic element that must be extracted by electrolysis from a fused salt like calcium chloride. Once produced, it rapidly forms a gray-white oxide and nitride coating when exposed to air. It is somewhat difficult to ignite, unlike magnesium, but when lit, the metal burns in air with a brilliant high-intensity red light. Calcium metal reacts with water, evolving hydrogen gas at a rate rapid enough to be noticeable, but not fast enough at room temperature to generate much heat. In powdered form, however, the reaction with water is extremely rapid, as the increased surface area of the powder accelerates the reaction with the water. Part of the slowness of the calcium-water reaction results from the metal being partly protected by insoluble white calcium hydroxide. In water solutions of acids where the salt is water soluble, calcium reacts vigorously.<br />Calcium, with a specific mass of 1.55 g/cm3, is the lightest of the alkali earth metals; magnesium (1.74) and beryllium (1.84) are heavier although they are lighter in atomic mass. From strontium on, the alkali earth metals get heavier along with the atomic mass.<br />Calcium has a higher electrical resistivity than copper or aluminium. Yet, weight for weight, allowing for its much lower density, it is a rather better conductor than either. However, its use in terrestrial applications is usually limited by its high reactivity with air.<br />Calcium salts are colorless from any contribution of the calcium, and ionic solutions of calcium (Ca2+) are colorless as well. Many calcium salts are not soluble in water. When in solution, the calcium ion to the human taste varies remarkably, being reported as mildly salty, sour, "
or even "
It is apparent that many animals can taste, or develop a taste, for calcium, and use this sense to detect the mineral in salt licks or other sources. In human nutrition, soluble calcium salts may be added to tart juices without much effect to the average palate.<br />Calcium is the fifth most abundant element by mass in the human body, where it is a common cellular ionic messenger with many functions, and serves also as a structural element in bone. It is the relatively high atomic-numbered calcium in the skeleton which causes bone to be radio-opaque. Of the human body's solid components after drying (as for example, after cremation), about a third of the total mass is the approximately one kilogram of calcium which composes the average skeleton (the remainder being mostly phosphorus and oxygen).<br />H and K lines<br />Visible spectra of many stars, including the Sun, exhibit strong absorption lines of singly ionized calcium. Prominent among these are the H-line at 3968.5 Å and the K line at 3933.7 Å of singly ionized calcium, or Ca II. For the Sun and stars with low temperatures, the prominence of the H and K lines can be an indication of strong magnetic activity in the chromosphere. Measurement of periodic variations of these active regions can also be used to deduce the rotation periods of these stars.<br />Compounds<br />Calcium, combined with phosphate to form hydroxylapatite, is the mineral portion of human and animal bones and teeth. The mineral portion of some corals can also be transformed into hydroxylapatite.<br />Calcium hydroxide (slaked lime) is used in many chemical refinery processes and is made by heating limestone at high temperature (above 825 °C) and then carefully adding water to it. When lime is mixed with sand, it hardens into a mortar and is turned into plaster by carbon dioxide uptake. Mixed with other compounds, lime forms an important part of Portland cement.<br />Calcium carbonate (CaCO3) is one of the common compounds of calcium. It is heated to form quicklime (CaO), which is then added to water (H2O). This forms another material known as slaked lime (Ca(OH)2), which is an inexpensive base material used throughout the chemical industry. Chalk, marble, and limestone are all forms of calcium carbonate.<br />When water percolates through limestone or other soluble carbonate rocks, it partially dissolves the rock and causes cave formation and characteristic stalactites and stalagmites and also forms hard water. Other important calcium compounds are calcium nitrate, calcium sulfide, calcium chloride, calcium carbide, calcium cyanamide and calcium hypochlorite.<br />Creation<br />Stable Calcium is created in extremely large, extremely hot (over 2.5 billion kelvin) stars. It requires one atom of argon and one atom of helium.<br />Isotopes<br />Main article: Isotopes of calcium<br />Calcium has four stable isotopes (40Ca and 42Ca through 44Ca), plus two more isotopes (46Ca and 48Ca) that have such long half-lives that for all practical purposes they can be considered stable. The 20% range in relative mass among naturally occurring calcium isotopes is greater than for any element except hydrogen and helium. Calcium also has a cosmogenic isotope, radioactive 41Ca, which has a half-life of 103,000 years. Unlike cosmogenic isotopes that are produced in the atmosphere, 41Ca is produced by neutron activation of 40Ca. Most of its production is in the upper metre or so of the soil column, where the cosmogenic neutron flux is still sufficiently strong. 41Ca has received much attention in stellar studies because it decays to 41K, a critical indicator of solar-system anomalies.<br />97% of naturally occurring calcium is in the form of 40Ca. 40Ca is one of the daughter products of 40K decay, along with 40Ar. While K-Ar dating has been used extensively in the geological sciences, the prevalence of 40Ca in nature has impeded its use in dating. Techniques using mass spectrometry and a double spike isotope dilution have been used for K-Ca age dating.<br />The most abundant isotope, 40Ca, has a nucleus of 20 protons and 20 neutrons. This is the heaviest stable isotope of any element which has equal numbers of protons and neutrons. In supernova explosions, calcium is formed from the reaction of carbon with various numbers of alpha particles (helium nuclei), until the most common calcium isotope (containing 10 helium nuclei) has been synthesized.<br />Isotope fractionation<br />As with the isotopes of other elements, a variety of processes fractionate, or alter the relative abundance of, calcium isotopes. The best studied of these processes is the mass dependent fractionation of calcium isotopes that accompanies the precipitation of calcium minerals, such as calcite, aragonite and apatite, from solution. Isotopically light calcium is preferentially incorporated into minerals, leaving the solution from which the mineral precipitated enriched in isotopically heavy calcium. At room temperature the magnitude of this fractionation is roughly 0.25‰ (0.025%) per atomic mass unit (AMU). Mass-dependant differences in calcium isotope composition conventionally are expressed the ratio of two isotopes (usually 44Ca/40Ca) in a sample compared to the same ratio in a standard reference material. 44Ca/40Ca varies by about 1% among common earth materials.<br />Calcium isotope fractionation during mineral formation has led to several applications of calcium isotopes. In particular, the 1997 observation by Skulan and DePaolo that calcium minerals are isotopically lighter than the solutions from which the minerals precipitate is the basis of analogous applications in medicine and in paleooceanography. In animals with skeletons mineralized with calcium the calcium isotopic composition of soft tissues reflects the relative rate of formation and dissolution of skeletal mineral. In humans changes in the calcium isotopic composition of urine have been shown to be related to changes in bone mineral balance. When the rate of bone formation exceeds the rate of bone resorption, soft tissue 44Ca/40Ca rises. Soft tissue 44Ca/40Ca falls when bone resorption exceeds bone formation. Because of this relationship, calcium isotopic measurements of urine or blood may be useful in the early detection of metabolic bone diseases like osteoporosis.<br />A similar system exists in the ocean, where seawater 44Ca/40Ca tends to rise when the rate of removal of Ca2+ from seawater by mineral precipitation exceeds the input of new calcium into the ocean, and fall when calcium input exceeds mineral precipitation. It follows that rising 44Ca/40Ca corresponds to falling seawater Ca2+ concentration, and falling 44Ca/40Ca corresponds to rising seawater Ca2+ concentration. In 1997 Skulan and DePaolo presented the first evidence of change in seawater 44Ca/40Ca over geologic time, along with a theoretical explanation of these changes. More recent papers have confirmed this observation, demonstrating that seawater Ca2+ concentration is not constant, and that the ocean probably never is in “steady state” with respect to its calcium input and output. This has important climatological implications, as the marine calcium cycle is closely tied to the carbon cycle (see below).<br />Geochemical cycling<br />Calcium provides an important link between tectonics, climate and the carbon cycle. In the simplest terms, uplift of mountains exposes Ca-bearing rocks to chemical weathering and releases Ca2+ into surface water. This Ca2+ eventually is transported to the ocean where it reacts with dissolved CO2 to form limestone. Some of this limestone settles to the sea floor where it is incorporated into new rocks. Dissolved CO2, along with carbonate and bicarbonate ions, are referred to as dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC).<br />Travertine terraces Pamukkale, Turkey<br />The actual reaction is more complicated and involves the bicarbonate ion (HCO3-) that forms when CO2 reacts with water at seawater pH:<br />Ca2+ + 2HCO3 -> CaCO3 (limestone) + CO2 + H2O<br />Note that at ocean pH most of the CO2 produced in this reaction is immediately converted back into HCO3-. The reaction results in a net transport of one molecule of CO2 from the ocean/atmosphere into the lithosphere.<br />The result is that each Ca2+ ion released by chemical weathering ultimately removes one CO2 molecule from the surficial system (atmosphere, ocean, soils and living organisms), storing it in carbonate rocks where it is likely to stay for hundreds of millions of years. The weathering of calcium from rocks thus scrubs CO2 from the ocean and atmosphere, exerting a strong long-term effect on climate. Analogous cycles involving magnesium, and to a much smaller extent strontium and barium, have the same effect.<br />As the weathering of limestone (CaCO3) liberates equimolar amounts of Ca2+ and CO2, it has no net effect on the CO2 content of the atmosphere and ocean. The weathering of silicate rocks like granite, on the other hand, is a net CO2 sink because it produces abundant Ca2+ very little CO2.<br />History<br />Calcium (Latin word calcis meaning "
) was known as early as the first century when the Ancient Romans prepared lime as calcium oxide. Literature dating back to 975 AD notes that plaster of paris (calcium sulphate), is useful for setting broken bones. It was not isolated until 1808 in England when Sir Humphry Davy electrolyzed a mixture of lime and mercuric oxide. Davy was trying to isolate calcium; when he heard that Swedish chemist Jöns Jakob Berzelius and Pontin prepared calcium amalgam by electrolyzing lime in mercury, he tried it himself. He worked with electrolysis throughout his life and also discovered/isolated sodium, potassium, magnesium, boron and barium. Calcium metal was not available in large scale until the beginning of the 20th century.<br />Occurrence<br />See also: Category:Calcium minerals<br />Calcium is not naturally found in its elemental state. Calcium occurs most commonly in sedimentary rocks in the minerals calcite, dolomite and gypsum. It also occurs in igneous and metamorphic rocks chiefly in the silicate minerals: plagioclase, amphiboles, pyroxenes and garnets<br />Applications<br />Calcium is used<br />as a reducing agent in the extraction of other metals, such as uranium, zirconium, and thorium.<br />as a deoxidizer, desulfurizer, or decarbonizer for various ferrous and nonferrous alloys.<br />as an alloying agent used in the production of aluminium, beryllium, copper, lead, and magnesium alloys.<br />in the making of cements and mortars to be used in construction.<br />in the making of cheese, where calcium ions influence the activity of rennin in bringing about the coagulation of milk.<br />This article does not cite any references or sources.Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (April 2010)<br />Calcium compounds<br />Calcium carbonate (CaCO3) is used in manufacturing cement and mortar, lime, limestone (usually used in the steel industry) and aids in production in the glass industry. It also has chemical and optical uses as mineral specimens in toothpastes, for example.<br />Calcium hydroxide solution (Ca(OH)2) (also known as limewater) is used to detect the presence of carbon dioxide by being bubbled through a solution. It turns cloudy where CO2 is present.<br />Calcium arsenate (Ca3(AsO4)2) is used in insecticides.<br />Calcium carbide (CaC2) is used to make acetylene gas (for use in acetylene torches for welding) and in the manufacturing of plastics.<br />Calcium chloride (CaCl2) is used in ice removal and dust control on dirt roads, in conditioner for concrete, as an additive in canned tomatoes, and to provide body for automobile tires.<br />Calcium cyclamate (Ca(C6H11NHSO3)2) was used as a sweetening agent but is no longer permitted for use because of suspected cancer-causing properties.<br />Calcium gluconate (Ca(C6H11O7)2) is used as a food additive and in vitamin pills.<br />Calcium hypochlorite (Ca(OCl)2) is used as a swimming pool disinfectant, as a bleaching agent, as an ingredient in deodorant, and in algaecide and fungicide.<br />Calcium permanganate (Ca(MnO4)2) is used in liquid rocket propellant, textile production, as a water sterilizing agent and in dental procedures.<br />Calcium phosphate (Ca3(PO4)2) is used as a supplement for animal feed, fertilizer, in commercial production for dough and yeast products, in the manufacture of glass, and in dental products.<br />Calcium phosphide (Ca3P2) is used in fireworks, rodenticide, torpedoes and flares.<br />Calcium stearate (Ca(C18H35O2)2) is used in the manufacture of wax crayons, cements, certain kinds of plastics and cosmetics, as a food additive, in the production of water resistant materials and in the production of paints.<br />Calcium sulfate (CaSO4·2H2O) is used as common blackboard chalk, as well as, in its hemihydrate form better known as Plaster of Paris.<br />Calcium tungstate (CaWO4) is used in luminous paints, fluorescent lights and in X-ray studies.<br />Hydroxylapatite (Ca5(PO4)3(OH), but is usually written Ca10(PO4)6(OH)2) makes up seventy percent of bone. Also carbonated-calcium deficient hydroxylapatite is the main mineral of which dental enamel and dentin are comprised.<br />Nutrition<br />Main articles: Calcium in biology and Calcium metabolism<br />Recommended adequate intake by the IOM for calcium:AgeCalcium (mg/day)0–6 months2107–12 months2701–3 years5004–8 years8009–18 years130019–50 years100051+ years1200<br />Calcium is an important component of a healthy diet and a mineral necessary for life. The National Osteoporosis Foundation says, "
Calcium plays an important role in building stronger, denser bones early in life and keeping bones strong and healthy later in life."
Approximately ninety-nine percent of the body's calcium is stored in the bones and teeth. The rest of the calcium in the body has other important uses, such as some exocytosis, especially neurotransmitter release, and muscle contraction. In the electrical conduction system of the heart, calcium replaces sodium as the mineral that depolarizes the cell, proliferating the action potential. In cardiac muscle, sodium influx commences an action potential, but during potassium efflux, the cardiac myocyte experiences calcium influx, prolonging the action potential and creating a plateau phase of dynamic equilibrium. Long-term calcium deficiency can lead to rickets and poor blood clotting and in case of a menopausal woman, it can lead to osteoporosis, in which the bone deteriorates and there is an increased risk of fractures. While a lifelong deficit can affect bone and tooth formation, over-retention can cause hypercalcemia (elevated levels of calcium in the blood), impaired kidney function and decreased absorption of other minerals. High calcium intakes or high calcium absorption were previously thought to contribute to the development of kidney stones. However, a high calcium intake has been associated with a lower risk for kidney stones in more recent research. Vitamin D is needed to absorb calcium.<br />Dairy products, such as milk and cheese, are a well-known source of calcium. Some individuals are allergic to dairy products and even more people, particularly those of non Indo-European descent, are lactose-intolerant, leaving them unable to consume non-fermented dairy products in quantities larger than about half a liter per serving. Others, such as vegans, avoid dairy products for ethical and health reasons. Fortunately, many good sources of calcium exist. These include seaweeds such as 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. Research has found an association between diets high in animal protein and increased urinary calcium loss from the bones. A diet high in fruit, vegetables and cereals was demonstrated to result in greater femoral bone mineral density in older men, in comparison to a range of other diets. Diets high in candy were found to result in lower bone density in both men and women.. An overlooked source of calcium is eggshell, which can be ground into a powder and mixed into food or a glass of water. Cultivated vegetables generally have less calcium than wild plants.<br />The calcium content of most foods can be found in the USDA National Nutrient Database.<br />Dietary calcium supplements<br />500 milligram calcium supplements made from calcium carbonate<br />Calcium supplements are used to prevent and to treat calcium deficiencies. Most experts recommend that supplements be taken with food and that no more than 600 mg should be taken at a time because the percent of calcium absorbed decreases as the amount of calcium in the supplement increases. It is recommended to spread doses throughout the day. Recommended daily calcium intake for adults ranges from 1000 to 1500 mg. It is recommended to take supplements with food to aid in absorption.<br />Vitamin D is added to some calcium supplements. Proper vitamin D status is important because vitamin D is converted to a hormone in the body which then induces the synthesis of intestinal proteins responsible for calcium absorption.<br />The absorption of calcium from most food and commonly used dietary supplements is very similar. This is contrary to what many calcium supplement manufacturers claim in their promotional materials.<br />Milk is an excellent source of dietary calcium because it has a high concentration of calcium and the calcium in milk is excellently absorbed.<br />Calcium carbonate is the most common and least expensive calcium supplement. It should be taken with food. It depends on low pH levels for proper absorption in the intestine. Some studies suggests that the absorption of calcium from calcium carbonate is similar to the absorption of calcium from milk. While most people digest calcium carbonate very well, some might develop gastrointestinal discomfort or gas. Taking magnesium with it can help to avoid constipation. Calcium carbonate is 40% elemental calcium. 1000 mg will provide 400 mg of calcium. However, supplement labels will usually indicate how much calcium is present in each serving, not how much calcium carbonate is present.<br />Antacids frequently contain calcium carbonate, and are a commonly used, inexpensive calcium supplement<br />Coral Calcium is a salt of calcium derived from fossilized coral reefs. Coral calcium is composed of calcium carbonate and trace minerals.<br />Calcium citrate can be taken without food and is the supplement of choice for individuals with achlorhydria or who are taking histamine-2 blockers or proton-pump inhibitors. It is more easily digested and absorbed than calcium carbonate if taken on an empty stomach and less likely to cause constipation and gas than calcium carbonate. It also has a lower risk of contributing to the formation of kidney stones. Calcium citrate is about 21% elemental calcium. 1000 mg will provide 210 mg of calcium. It is more expensive than calcium carbonate and more of it must be taken to get the same amount of calcium.<br />Calcium phosphate costs more than calcium carbonate, but less than calcium citrate. It is easily absorbed and is less likely to cause constipation and gas than either.<br />Calcium lactate has similar absorption as calcium carbonate, but is more expensive. Calcium lactate and calcium gluconate are less concentrated forms of calcium and are not practical oral supplements.<br />Calcium chelates are synthetic calcium compounds, with calcium bound to an organic molecule, such as malate, aspartate, or fumarate. These forms of calcium may be better absorbed on an empty stomach. However, in general they are absorbed similarly to calcium carbonate and other common calcium supplements when taken with food. The 'chelate' mimics the action that natural food performs by keeping the calcium soluble in the intestine. Thus, on an empty stomach, in some individuals, chelates might theoretically be absorbed better.<br />Microcrystalline hydroxyapatite (MH) is marketed as a calcium supplement, and has in some randomized trials been found to be more effective than calcium carbonate.<br />Orange juice with calcium added is a good dietary source for persons who have lactose intolerance.<br />In July 2006, a report citing research from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington claimed that women in their 50s gained 5 pounds less in a period of 10 years by taking more than 500 mg of calcium supplements than those who did not. However, the doctor in charge of the study, Dr. Alejandro J. Gonzalez also noted it would be "
going out on a limb"
to suggest calcium supplements as a weight-limiting aid.<br />Prevention of fractures due to osteoporosis<br />Such studies often do not test calcium alone, but rather combinations of calcium and vitamin D. Randomized controlled trials found both positive and negative effects. The different results may be explained by doses of calcium and underlying rates of calcium supplementation in the control groups. However, it is clear that increasing the intake of calcium promotes deposition of calcium in the bones, where it is of more benefit in preventing the compression fractures resulting from the osteoporotic thinning of the dendritic web of the bodies of the vertebrae, than it is at preventing the more serious cortical bone fractures which happen at hip and wrist.<br />Possible cancer prevention<br />A meta-analysis by the international Cochrane Collaboration of two randomized controlled trials found that calcium "
might contribute to a moderate degree to the prevention of adenomatous colonic polyps"
.<br />More recent studies were conflicting, and one which was positive for effect (Lappe, et al.) did control for a possible anti-carcinogenic effect of vitamin D, which was found to be an independent positive influence from calcium-alone on cancer risk (see second study below) .<br />A randomized controlled trial found that 1000 mg of elemental calcium and 400 IU of vitamin D3 had no effect on colorectal cancer<br />A randomized controlled trial found that 1400–1500 mg supplemental calcium and 1100 IU vitamin D3 reduced aggregated cancers with a relative risk of 0.402.<br />An observational cohort study found that high calcium and vitamin D intake was associated with "
lower risk of developing premenopausal breast cancer."
<br />Hazards and Toxicity<br />Compared to other metals, the calcium ion and most calcium compounds have low toxicity. Calcium poses few, if any, serious environmental problems. Acute calcium poisoning is rare, and difficult to achieve unless calcium compounds are administered intravenously. For example, the oral median lethal dose (LD50) for rats for calcium carbonate and calcium chloride are 6.45  and 1.4 g/kg, respectively.<br />Calcium metal is hazardous because of its sometimes violent reactions with water and acids. Calcium metal is found in some drain cleaners, where it functions to generate heat and calcium hydroxide that saponifies the fats and liquefies the proteins (e.g., hair) that block drains. When swallowed calcium metal has the same effect on the mouth, esophagus and stomach, and can be fatal.<br />Excessive consumption of calcium carbonate antacids/dietary supplements (such as Tums) over a period of weeks or months can cause milk-alkali syndrome, with symptoms ranging from hypercalcemia to potentially fatal renal failure. What constitutes “excessive” consumption is not well known and probably varies a great deal from person to person. Persons who consume more than 10 grams/day of CaCO3 (=4 g Ca) are at risk of developing milk-alkali syndrome, but the condition has been reported in at least one person consuming only 2.5 grams/day of CaCO3 (=1 g Ca), an amount usually considered moderate and safe.<br />Calcium: historical information<br />Calcium was discovered by Sir Humphrey Davy at 1808 in England. Origin of name: from the Latin word "
<br />Compounds such as lime (CaO, calcium oxide) were prepared by the Romans in the first century under the name calx. Literature dating back to about 975 AD notes that plaster of paris (calcium sulphate, CaSO4, dehydrated gypsum) is useful for setting broken bones. Other calcium compounds used in early times include limestone (CaCO3, calcium carbonate).<br />Calcium metal was not isolated until 1808. After learning that Berzelius and Pontin prepared calcium amalgam by electrolysing lime in mercury, Sir Humphry Davy was able to isolate the impure metal. He did this by the electrolysis of a mixture of lime and mercuric oxide (HgO). Calcium metal was not available in large scale until the beginning of the 20th century.<br />Sometime prior to the autumn of 1803, the Englishman John Dalton was able to explain the results of some of his studies by assuming that matter is composed of atoms and that all samples of any given compound consist of the same combination of these atoms. Dalton also noted that in series of compounds, the ratios of the masses of the second element that combine with a given weight of the first element can be reduced to small whole numbers (the law of multiple proportions). This was further evidence for atoms. Dalton's theory of atoms was published by Thomas Thomson in the 3rd edition of his System of Chemistry in 1807 and in a paper about strontium oxalates published in the Philosophical Transactions. Dalton published these ideas himself in the following year in the New System of Chemical Philosophy. The symbol used by Dalton for calcium is shown below. [See History of Chemistry, Sir Edward Thorpe, volume 1, Watts & Co, London, 1914.]<br />Close <br />Calcium deficiency <br />Calcium is one of the most important elements in the diet because it is a structural component of bones, teeth, and soft tissues and is essential in many of the body's metabolic processes. It accounts for 1 to 2 percent of adult body weight, 99 percent of which is stored in bones and teeth. On the cellular level, calcium is used to regulate the permeability and electrical properties of biological membranes (such as cell walls), which in turn control muscle and nerve functions, glandular secretions, and blood vessel dilation and contraction. Calcium is also essential for proper blood clotting.PLEASE RATE MY LENS, THANKS!<br />When to take a calcium supplement <br />If diet alone cannot meet calcium needs, supplementation is recommended. The most common calcium supplements are either in a carbonate or citrate form. Side effects of supplements include: gas, bloating and constipation. Magnesium is commonly added to prevent constipation. Vitamin D is also commonly added to aid in the absorption of the supplement. Timing and dosage of calcium supplements are important. The body can only metabolize about 500 milligrams of calcium at one time; therefore taking a calcium supplement with a dairy rich meal limits the absorption. It is best to take a supplement that is around 500 milligrams either between meal times or with a non-dairy rich meal.By adding calcium to your diet you'll help protect your bones and reduce your risk of bone fractures. Some tips for incorporating more calcium in your diet include: substituting milk for soda, using milk in recipes that call for water, adding cheese as a snack or having a fruit smoothie are easy ways to get more calcium into the diet. Remember to bank on calcium. Creating a large savings bank early on will prove lucrative bone benefits later on. <br />What calcium deficiency leads to <br />Without an adequate, constant supply of calcium the bones become weaker and develop tiny holes. These "
lead to osteoporosis. Currently 10 million Americans-80% of whom are women-have osteoporosis. Moreover, 34 million Americans are considered to have the premature form of osteoporosis called osteopenia. Having either disease increases the risk of fractures in the hip, spine, wrist, pelvis and ribs. Osteoporosis was once considered an older women's issue. However, now it affects children as young as 12 years old. <br />Who is at risk? <br />Populations most at risk of a calcium deficiency are post-menopausal women due to poor estrogen stores, as well as amenorrheic girls-especially those suffering from the female athlete triad. People who are strict vegetarians or lactose intolerant are also at risk for deficiency. <br />New YouTube vids <br />Calcium Deficiency<br />by cre222 | video info<br />9 ratings | 6,703 views <br />Experimental short by Cassandra Evanisko in which a girl struggles with a huge decison. Family and boyfriend influence that choice greatly, but the final say is her own. <br />automatically generated by YouTube<br />Calcium absorption <br />It is estimated that nearly 60% of dietary calcium is absorbed during childhood and early adulthood. As an adult the absorption rate decreases to a mere 20%. To help the absorption process it is recommended that vitamin D be added to the calcium source. Vitamin D helps the calcium to become more easily absorbed in the blood stream and bones. Vegetables rich in phytates and oxalate hamper calcium's absorption. Vegetarian's who don't consume dairy may be at increased risk of having a calcium deficiency. Research also shows that following high protein diets or eating foods high sodium may lessen body's ability to absorb calcium.source- thedietchannel.com <br />Where can you get calcium? <br />The majority of calcium comes from dairy sources. The new food guide pyramid recommends 2-3 servings of low fat or fat free dairy each day. One serving equals 8 ounces. If dairy products are not tolerated, calcium can also be obtained from other sources, including lactose-treated milk, fortified soy or rice beverages, fortified cereals and juice and green vegetables. <br />New Link List <br />Coral Calcium Daily <br />Get the original Coral Calcium Daily%u2122 in an easy to take capsule form. The recommended dosage of 3 capsules a day gives you 72 marine trace minerals and is also fortified with magnesium and vitamins A, C, D, and E. Start feeling the amazing benefits of Coral Calcium today!<br />Calcium Defficiency Preventers <br />Calcium, calcium, calcium<br />Nutrition Calculator <br />Here is something that will really help you in tracking your intake so that you know you are eating like you should.<br />RDA for Calcium <br />AgeCalcium (milligrams)0-6 months2107-12 months2701-3 years5004-8 years8009-13 years130014-18 years130019-50 years100051 plus1200 <br />Common Food Sources of Calcium <br />FoodServing SizeCalcium (milligrams)Yogurt, plain8oz.415Yogurt, fruited8oz.245-384Sardines, bone included3 oz.324Cheddar cheese, shredded1.5 oz.306Milk, whole-fat free8 oz.294-302Milk, lactose treated8 oz.285Mozzarella1.5 oz.275Orange juice, calcium fortified8 oz.200-260Salmon, bones included3 oz.181Cottage cheese1 c.138Tofu, firm½ c.138Spinach, cooked½ c.120Turnip greens, cooked½ c.99Kale, cooked1 c.94Ice cream, vanilla½ c.85Soy or rice milk, calcium added1 c.80-500Sour cream, reduced fat2 Tb.32White bread1 slice31Broccoli, raw½ c.21 <br />Which is the most important nutrient in our bodies? <br />Calcium is arguably the most important nutrient in your body. As the most abundant mineral it has several important functions. More than 99% of your calcium is stored in your bones and teeth where it supports their structure and is ready to be called into action for many other critical functions. A few of these calcium functions are muscle contraction, blood vessel contraction and expansion, the secretion of hormones and enzymes, and sending messages through the nervous system. The amount of calcium in your body fluid and tissues is closely regulated so that these vital body processes function efficiently.Your bones are continuously breaking down and being formed at the same time. This process of remodeling involves a constant breakdown of bone (resorption) and deposition of calcium into newly deposited bone (bone formation). The balance between bone resorption and deposition changes as you age. When you are a child there is a higher amount of bone formation and less breakdown. In early and middle adulthood, these processes are relatively equal. As an aging adult, particularly among postmenopausal women, your bone breakdown exceeds its formation, resulting in bone loss, which increases your risk for osteoporosis (porous, weak bones which can easily fracture).source-algaecal.com <br />It's like "
depositing money in the bank"
<br />The US Surgeon General warns that by 2020, ½ of people over 50 will be at risk for osteoporotic fractures! Not osteoporosis, but worse than that - fractures! Notice that the Surgeon General did not say "
those over 80"
are at risk of fracture. He said "
! America is one of the top sufferers from Osteoporosis in the world. Why, you ask? Look at the following major government studies.From 1982 -1986 the US Food and Drug Administration conducted the "
Total Diet Study"
in which they found Calcium, Magnesium and several other minerals were deficient in several ages and gender groups.In 1996 USDA completed its "
Continuing Survey of Food Intakes of Individuals"
corroborated the FDA's study. The USDA found both boys and girls, men and women deficient in Calcium. The most shocking statistic is for teen girls - 87% do not get recommended intakes of calcium. The Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization and others are also warning that we need adequate calcium.Recent clinical studies show that if you supplement to build bone as children, it's like depositing "
money in the bank"
for your old age. Bone loss is inevitable for women and men as we age, but if you started out with a large account it helps later in life. In other words, osteoporosis is largely preventable!source-www.algaecal.com <br />Vitamin D and calcium <br />Vitamin D helps you improve calcium absorption dramatically. Your body can obtain vitamin D from food and it can also make vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunlight. Thus, adequate vitamin D intake from food and sun exposure is essential to bone health. <br />Vegetables and Calcium <br />Phytic acid and oxalic acid, which are found naturally in some plants, may bind to calcium and prevent it from being absorbed optimally. It is important to note that these substances affect the absorption of calcium from the plant itself not the calcium found in other calcium-containing foods eaten at the same time.Examples of high oxalic acid foods are spinach, collard greens, sweet potatoes, rhubarb, and beans. Foods high in phytic acid include whole grains, beans, seeds, nuts, grains, and soy isolates. <br />Calcium deficiency <br />What you should know<br />Calcium deficiency is usually due to an inadequate supply or a failure in metabolism of calcium. Calcium, the main structural element of bones and teeth, is one of the most important minerals that helps in the growth and maintenance and reproduction of the human body. In addition to helping to maintain bone and dental health, calcium is also involved in a wide variety of other functions, including blood coagulation, the transmission of nerve impulses, muscle contraction and relaxation, normal heartbeat, stimulation of hormone secretion and the activation of enzyme reactions.When blood calcium levels drop too low, the vital mineral is "
from the bones. It is returned to the bones from calcium supplied through the diet. If an individual's diet is low in calcium, there may not be sufficient amounts of the element available in the blood to be returned to the bones %u2026 leading to a net loss in bone mass, a condition called osteopenia . Osteopenia can lead to osteoporosis, or porous bone. Osteoporosis is responsible for 1.5 million bone fractures in the U.S. every year. <br />The Consequences of Untreated Calcium Deficiency <br />Low calcium intake is associated with the risk of osteoporosis, colon cancer and hypertension.Osteoporosis is a major public health threat for an estimated 44 million Americans, or 55 percent of people 50 years of age and older and is responsible for more than 1.5 million fractures annually. Ten million individuals are estimated to have osteoporosis today and almost 34 million more are estimated to have low bone mass (or osteopenia), placing them at increased risk for the disease in the future.Taking calcium supplements helps prevent the recurrence of polyps in the colon, a risk factor for colorectal cancer. In a well-controlled clinical trial, published in the Journal of The National Cancer Institute, calcium supplements reduced the advanced polyps growth which is most strongly associated with invasive colorectal cancer. While it's not known exactly how the calcium may help prevent the polyps, researchers speculate that calcium prevents the irritating and cancer-promoting effect of bile acids and other fats in the bowel. To help reduce the risk of colon cancer you should follow the dietary recommendations for daily calcium intake.Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, can occur in children or adults. It affects about 50 million - or 1 in 4 - adult Americans and is especially common among African Americans and older people. Uncontrolled hypertension directly increases the risk of coronary heart disease - which can potentially lead to heart attack. <br />Calcium and Women <br />Studies show an association in women who have a calcium intake of 800 mg/day or more have a 23 percent lower risk of developing high blood pressure than women with an intake of 400 mg/day or less. The benefits of calcium are even greater among pregnant women. Controlled trials in women with habitually low calcium intakes have found that women who consume between 1500 - 2000 mg/day of calcium reduce their risk of developing pregnancy-induced hypertension by as much as 50 percent. It has also been shown that maternal calcium intake positively affects the infant's blood pressure. In one clinical trial, women with high calcium intakes gave birth to babies with higher birth weights and lower blood pressures. This lower pressure persisted throughout at least the first five years of life <br />Calcium Calculator <br />Estimate your current daily calcium intake, and learn about sources of calcium to help you achieve your recommended daily intake.http://www.calciuminfo.com/calciumcalulator.aspx <br /> HYPERLINK "
Create a Lens! <br />Explore related pages<br />Metabolic Bone Disease in Bearded Dragons<br />Metabolic Bone Disease is an extremely common illness that affects captive beard...<br />Living With Osteoporosis<br />Osteoporosis literally translates to porous bones. This condition occurs w...<br />Joint Health<br />A joint is the location at which two or more bones make contact. They are constr...<br />Vitamin D<br />There's a lot of information out there on Vitamin D on the internet and in publi...<br />Check Out the Benefits of Wine<br />All of us have consumed wine at some time or the other. We love wine and enjoy i...<br />CORAL CALCIUM<br />Go Shopping!<br />See also: FemmePhase Colloidal Minerals Goji Berry Percy's Powder Heavy Metal Test Kit Reparen The Calcium Factor MC-S Immune Therapy Co Q10 Calcium Complete Magnesium Complete Selenium Complete<br />WARNING: make sure your Coral Calcium product carries an AUSTL Number - ours does!<br />right0NEW - Coral Water Sachets - here NOW! <br /> <br />Coral Calcium Powder<br />Ocean Milk™ Sango Coral Calcium (AustL 93236)<br />We are delighted to introduce Australia to coral calcium from Okinawa, Japan.Ocean Milk™ Sango Coral Calcium is formulated from 100% fossilised marine bed coral, and is the only Coral Calcium product to carry an Australian AustL number - does yours?right0<br />Ocean Milk™ Sango Coral Calcium has a dolomitic structure of calcium and magnesium in a 2:1 ratio with traces of many other minerals that are important to the overall physical wellbeing of your body.<br />Did You Know that the body fluids, such as blood, spinal and saliva, of the healthy are alkaline (high pH), whereas the body fluids of the sick are acidic (low pH)?<br />Calcium is an essential nutrient your body needs every day. You may already know that it helps build and maintain healthy teeth and bones but that's not all! Calcium also keeps your heart beating steadily, your blood working correctly and your nerves and muscles in good shape too.<br />Ocean Milk™ is a matrix of bio-absorbable calcium/magnesium and trace elements. Ocean Milk™ aids the body in the maintenance of acid/alkali balance for general wellbeing. Ocean Milk™ (capsules only) has the added benefit of 333iu vitamin D for optimum absorption.Ocean Milk Coral Calcium powder includes a 1gram scoop. Taken at a maintenance level, a 200gram jar lasts on average 14 weeks. This tasteless, odourless powder may be added to any food or drink for adults and children alike. Suggested serving is half to 1 scoop 3 times daily or as directed by your health care practitioner.<br />Ocean Milk™ is 100% ionised in 15 minutes, which means that all of the calcium can go into the blood stream and be used for the regulatory functions essential to the body. Studies done at Tokyo University on rats and humans show that absorption of calcium from coral calcium is greater than that from regular calcium carbonate, milk and hydroxyapatite.Ocleft0ean Milk™ Coral Calcium Gold (AustL 93319)<br /> <br />Now available in vegecaps. Coral Cay Health have chosen to use vegetable caps and plant based (cholecalciferol) vitamin D to make our product suitable for every type of diet. There is 333IU per capsule.A bottle of 90 capsules, taken at a maintenance dose of 3 per day will last on average one month.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br />More Than One Type of Coral Calcium? <br />There are two main types of coral calcium available:<br />1. Okinawa Land Based Coral (above-sea) -This is coral sand which has washed onto the land in Okinawa and then (collected) mined. Above sea coral is easier to harvest than ocean bed, however much of the mineral content (especially magnesium, has been leached out by the sun, air and rain.<br />2. Okinawa Below Sea Coral (Marine) Grade – Marine grade coral calcium is essentially coral that has broken off and fallen onto the seabed due to the natural weathering of coral reefs through wave action. The result of the weathering is a substance called coral sands. These coral sands are carefully vacuumed up from the sea bed, some 4 - 6 kilometres from the living reefs (in fact, only 1/10,000th of the coral sands produced naturally each year are collected and processed for use as a nutrient!) The coral sands are then washed, heated and pulverised to a fine tasteless powder.<br />Did You Know with vitamins and mineral supplements, you can lower the acidity of your body fluids and become healthy?<br />The Japanese Government who maintain very strict laws concerning the collection of coral sands, oversee these operations to ensure environmental integrity.<br />Marine coral calcium, which is the most bio-absorbable form of coral calcium and contains the highest level of active nutrients, has two different types: <br />CCP(Coral Calcium Powder) which has the lower calcium to magnesium ratio, approx 17:1. <br />SMP(Sango Mineral Powder) which has calcium/magnesium ratio of 2:1 which is best for optimal absorption. <br />At Coral Cay Health Pty Ltd. we use the superior (SMP) Sango mineral powder in our products because of its rich mineral content, dolomitic structure and naturally occurring 2:1 ratio of calcium to magnesium.<br />Did You Know the Journal of the National Cancer Institute has reported that calcium supplementation reduces the risk of all types of colorectal polyps, especially with lesions. The study of 913 patients found the risk of advanced lesions was 35% lower with patients taking calcium.<br />Coral Calcium Story See also: The Calcium Factor Book right0<br />Around the world, there are several cultures that are known for living long, healthy and productive lives.These people include the Titicaca's in Peru, the Hunza's of Pakistan, the Tibetan's, Armenian's, Azerbaijani’s and the Okinawan's of Japan. It is not uncommon for these people to live over 100 years of age.<br />Scientists found that the most common factors between all these cultures were:<br />The amount of minerals they absorb through food and water. <br />A healthy outdoor lifestyle that includes plenty of sunshine (when sun strikes you, you produce vitamin D, which stimulates the receptors of the small intestine to absorb high levels of nutrients into the body.) <br />Strong family and spiritual ties. <br />The source of water for many of these cultures is melting glacial water, known as "
Milk of the Mountains"
because of its' white, milky appearance which is caused by the crushed rocks contained in the glacial ice. This water is extremely mineral rich, especially in calcium. <br />The Okinawan's of Japan, many of who live to over 95 years of age, also drink water which is mineral rich. Again the main minerals being calcium and magnesium.However the Okinawan's live at sea level, unlike the other cultures who live high up in the mountains, so their mineral rich water doesn't come from melting glacial water, it comes from...coral. <br />Some of the islands of Okinawa are volcanic islands while others are coral islands. The mineral rich soils from the volcanic islands leach into the surrounding seas and are absorbed by the coral beds, making the coral islands storehouses of mineral nutrients.When rain falls on these coral islands, it percolates through the coral deposits and absorbs minerals and other elements which in turn changes the alkalinity of the water to a healthy 7 to 8.5. <br />The recorded history of its use by humans goes back over hundreds of years to the local Okinawan farmers who after fertilizing their crops with coral calcium found they received far greater rice yields. <br />One hundred years later, Spanish explorers, noting the age and vitality of these people, took coral calcium back with them to Barcelona, Spain, where it was recommended by doctors for many ailments. <br />Today coral calcium is taken not only by the Okinawans and Spanish, but by people all over the world, from Europe, China, Russia, France, Sweden, Japan, the America's and now Australia.<br />Did You Know that by spitting on a penny's worth of pH paper, you can measure your level of acidity and health?<br />Acid/Alkali Balance<br />pH: What Does It Mean?The pH ranges from 0-14, with 7 being neutral. Above 7 is alkaline and below 7 is acidic. The concentration of hydrogen ions is commonly expressed in terms of the pH scale. Low pH corresponds to high hydrogen ion concentration and vice versaThe higher the pH reading, the more alkaline and oxygen rich the fluid is. The lower the pH reading, the more acidic and oxygen deprived the fluid is.The internal environment of a normal healthy body is slightly alkaline, maintaining a pH of just above 7.right0<br />Available now: Deluxe Litmus Kit - superior litmus paper with 12 gradients, from pH5.5 through to pH8.0 to test saliva and urine. Comes in a handy dispenser pack. (see "
on our secure store)<br />pH Balance in Your DietIdeally our diet should be composed of about 35% acid forming foods and 65% alkaline forming foods. The majority of fruit and vegetables leave an alkalizing effect. Most grains are somewhat acid forming as are protein foods (meat). Refined sugar is acid forming whilst natural sea salt is not. While this is the ideal it is not often the case. And remember, we live amongst acid toxins daily, even if we don’t eat them!<br />Bone and pHBone contains a large reservoir of potentially mobilisable alkaline salts of calcium, sodium, magnesium and potassium and contributes to the maintenance of our all important alkaline/acid balance by buffering a portion of the acid generated from the metabolism of food. When our internal pH turns acid, these minerals are mobilised from bone to neutralize excess acidity. Prolonged and repeat utilization of alkaline minerals for acid neutralization can deplete bone and contribute to osteoporosis. Thus, those with a more acid chemistry waste mineral reserves in mandatory pH balancing. <br />How Much Calcium Do I Need?<br />As you probably know, your body requires varying levels of calcium throughout the different stages of life, below are a few of the main categories: <br />Young Children – Growing skeletons have high calcium needs. Depending on their age and sex, children require between 700 – 1000mgs calcium daily.<br />Teens - Need higher than average calcium levels when going through puberty. They just never seem to stop growing! Girls need up to 1000mgs per day while boys need 1,200mgs per day.<br />Adults - Up until your mid 30’s your skeleton is still increasing in bone mass so it is important to provide your body with the calcium it needs during these years as to offset calcium related diseases later in life.Men and women need between 800mgs and 1000mgs a day.<br />Pregnant Women – Your developing baby depends on calcium to build it’s little bones, which they get through the mothers diet. In the last three months of pregnancy a women needs 1,100mgs a day.<br />Lactating Women – While breastfeeding, a mother needs not only enough calcium for herself, but for her baby, which is 1,200mg per day.<br />Old Age – As we get older our body’s skeleton loses calcium at varying rates. Due to hormonal changes after menopause, women lose almost double the amount of calcium as men do. Women need 1,000mgs of calcium per day, while men need 800mgs.<br />Recommended Daily Calcium Intake<br />CategoryAgeCalcium (mg)Children1-3 years700 4-7 years800Girls8-11 years900 12-15 years1000 16-18800Women19-54 years800 54+ years1000PregnancyThe last 3 months1100Lactating 1200Boys8-11 years800 12-15 years1200 16-18 years1000Men19-64 years800 64+ years800<br />Source: National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia <br />What problems might I have taking calcium? <br />It’s very difficult to get too much calcium. Any excess which the body cannot use is excreted from the body in the urine and stool. Daily consumption up to 2,500 mg has been shown to be safe. (1)<br />Factors that affect calcium absorption<br />Cigarette smoking <br />High salt diet <br />Drinks with caffeine in them (cola, tea, coffee) <br />Excessive alcohol intake <br />High animal protein diets (for example, lots of meat) <br />High phosphates in animal foods and soft drinks <br />Crash diets <br />Very high fibre and phytic acid intakes. <br />FACTS ABOUT OSTEOPOROSIS AND ITS IMPACT.<br />There were 1.9 million Australians with osteoporosis and fractures in 2001. <br />Every 8.1 minutes in Australia someone is admitted to hospital with a fracture. <br />Direct costs in 200-2001 at 1.9 billion (over half in hospital costs). <br />Source: “The Burden of Brittle Bones – Costing Osteoporosis in Australia,” prepared by Access Economics for Osteoporosis Australia. <br />Bone Loss and pH<br />A recent seven-year study conducted at the University of California, San Francisco, showed that women who have consistent internal acidity are at greater risk for bone loss than those who have normal pH levels. The scientists who carried out this experiment believe that many of the hip fractures prevalent among post- menopausal women are connected to high acidity caused by a diet rich in animal and processed foods and low in vegetables. This is because the body borrows calcium from the bones in order to balance pH.American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol 73, No. 1, 118-122 January 2001<br />Osteoporosis, which means porous bones, is a disease where bone density deteriorates which leads to increased risk of fracture.As bone loss is often gradual osteoporosis can often be left unchecked and is not noticed until the disease is well advanced.It is a good idea to have a check-up and a bone density test if you are concerned.<br />hursday, July 22, 2010<br />Size 10: Does That Make You Plus Size?<br />Photo: Duffy-Marie Arnoult/WireImage<br />It seems that every couple of months, some photographs of celebrities or models are exposed as having been “Photoshopped” far beyond the reality of their bodies. The latest person to go on a digital diet is plus-size model Crystal Renn.<br />She is complaining that because the photographer slimmed her down, her image is tarnished — that her fans and clients might think she lost weight and succumbed to the beauty ideal of “straight”-sized models. (The photographer defends his work on his blog as normal touching up.)<br />Renn says she is a size 10, which is considered a plus size in the fashion industry. That got us thinking — again — about what a plus-sized model really represents. As she told the Today Show, “what industry thinks as plus and what society thinks is plus” are out of whack.<br />But even as a size 10, Renn really doesn’t represent most women. Today, the average American woman is 5′4″, has a waist size of 34 to 35 inches, weighs 140 to 150 pounds, and wears a size 12 to 14, says Pam Peeke, MD, WebMD’s Everyday Fitness blogger. So the fashion industry probably considers you and most of your friends plus-size.<br />Think about that: If you’re average, you’re plus-size. The clothes the fashion industry creates for you are in a separate area of the store. They might be more expensive. They might be less stylish. So you might be made to feel less-than-average by this skewed ideal. The “majority rules” concept doesn’t apply to the fashion industry.<br />Healthy Dogs<br />Font Size<br />A <br />A <br />A <br />Heat Stroke and Dehydration in Dogs<br />Heat stroke is an emergency and requires immediate treatment. Because dogs do not sweat (except to a minor degree through their foot pads), they do not tolerate high environmental temperatures as well as humans do. Dogs depend upon panting to exchange warm air for cool air. But when air temperature is close to body temperature, cooling by panting is not an efficient process.<br />Common situations that can set the stage for heat stroke in dogs include:<br />Being left in a car in hot weather<br />Exercising strenuously in hot, humid weather<br />Being a brachycephalic breed, especially a Bulldog, Pug, or Pekingese<br />Suffering from a heart or lung disease that interferes with efficient breathing<br />Being muzzled while put under a hair dryer<br />Suffering from a high fever or seizures<br />Being confined on concrete or asphalt surfaces<br />Being confined without shade and fresh water in hot weather<br />Having a history of heat stroke<br />Heat stroke begins with heavy panting and difficulty breathing. The tongue and mucous membranes appear bright red. The saliva is thick and tenacious, and the dog often vomits. The rectal temperature rises to 104° to 110°F (40° to 43.3°C). The dog becomes progressively unsteady and passes bloody diarrhea. As shocksets in, the lips and mucous membranes turn gray. Collapse, seizures, coma, and death rapidly ensue.<br />Treatment: Emergency measures to cool the dog must begin at once. Move the dog out of the source of heat, preferably into an air-conditioned building. Take his rectal temperature every 10 minutes. Mild cases may be resolved by moving the dog into a cool environment.<br />If the rectal temperature is above 104°F, begin rapid cooling by spraying the dog with a garden hose or immersing him in a tub of cool water (not ice water) for up to two minutes. Alternatively, place the wet dog in front of an electric fan. Cool packs applied to the groin area may be helpful, as well as wiping his paws off with cool water. Monitor his rectal temperature and continue the cooling process until the rectal temperature falls below 103°F (39°C). At this point, stop the cooling process and dry the dog. Further cooling may induce hypothermia and shock.<br />Following an episode of heat stroke, take your dog to a veterinarian as soon as possible. Heat stroke can be associated with laryngeal edema. This seriously worsens the breathing problem and may require an emergency tracheostomy. An injection of cortisone before the onset of respiratory distress may prevent this problem.<br />Other consequences of hyperthermia include kidney failure, spontaneous bleeding, irregular heartbeat, and seizures. These complications can occur hours or days later.<br />Dehydration<br />Dehydration occurs when a dog loses body fluids faster than he can replace them. Dehydration usually involves the loss of both water and electrolytes. In dogs, the most common causes of dehydration are severe vomiting and diarrhea. Dehydration can also be caused by inadequate fluid intake, often associated with fever and severe illness. A rapid loss of fluids also occurs with heat stroke.<br />A prominent sign of dehydration is loss of skin elasticity. When the skin along the back is pulled up, it should spring back into place. In a dehydrated animal, the skin stays up in a ridge.<br />Another sign of dehydration is dryness of the mouth. The gums, which should be wet and glistening, become dry and tacky. The saliva is thick and tenacious. In an advanced case, the eyes are sunken and the dog exhibits signs of shock, including collapse.<br />Treatment: A dog who is visibly dehydrated should receive immediate veterinary attention, including intravenous fluids, to replace fluids and prevent further loss.<br />For mild dehydration, if the dog is not vomiting you can give him an electrolyte solution by bottle or syringe into the cheek pouch. Balanced electrolyte solutions for treating dehydration in children, such as Ringer’s lactate with 5 percent dextrose in water or Pedialyte solution, are available at drugstores and are also suitable for dogs. Gatorade is another short-term substitute to help replace fluids. Administer the solution at a rate of 2 to 4 ml per pound (1 to 2 ml per kilo) of body weight per hour, depending on the severity of the dehydration (or as directed by your veterinarian).<br />Danger Lurking in Some Dietary Supplements?<br />Consumer Reports ID's ‘Dirty Dozen’ of ‘Dangerous’ Ingredients; Industry Takes Issue With Report<br />By Kathleen DohenyWebMD Health News<br />Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD<br />Aug. 3, 2010 -- A dozen ingredients commonly found in dietary supplements should be avoided, according to a new report, because they are linked to cancer, coma, kidney and liver damage, heart problems, and death.<br />Compiled by Consumer Reports, the report singles out 12 dietary supplement ingredients termed the ''dirty dozen."
The dozen we call out in this report are by no means the only dangerous ingredients,"
Nancy Metcalf, senior program editor at Consumer Reports, tells WebMD. "
They are the ones we chose to highlight."
<br />A spokesperson for the supplement industry calls the report ''a little bit sensationalized."
<br />Dangers of Dietary Supplements: A Closer Look<br />Researchers from Consumer Reports worked with experts from the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, an independent research group, first identifying from a database of nearly 1,100 ingredients a group of about 25 ingredients that had been linked to serious problems either by research studies or case reports.<br />Next, they whittled down the list to the 12, evaluating adverse events as well as how available the ingredients were and how aggressively the products containing them are promoted, Metcalf says. ''It's to a certain extent a subjective thing,"
she says of the process. She and her colleagues combed medical literature and other data to arrive at the list of 12 that Consumer Reports advises people to avoid.<br />On the list are these ingredients, their uses, and what evidence Consumer Reports has they may lead to problems:<br />Aconite, used for joint pain, wounds, gout, and inflammation, but linked with nausea, vomiting, heart rhythm disorders, respiratory system paralysis, and death.<br />Bitter orange, used for weight loss, allergies, and nasal congestion, but linked with fainting, heart rhythm disorder, heart attack, stroke, and death.<br />Chaparral, used for weight loss, colds, infections, inflammation, cancer, and detoxification, but linked to kidney and liver problems.<br />Colloidal silver, used for fungal and other infections, Lyme disease, rosacea, psoriasis, food poisoning, chronic fatigue syndrome, and HIV/AIDS, but linked to bluish skin color, mucous membrane discoloration, neurological problems, and kidney damage.<br />Coltsfoot, used for cough, sore throat, laryngitis, bronchitis, and asthma, but linked to cancer and liver damage.<br />Comfrey, used for cough, heavy menstrual periods, chest pain, and cancer, but linked to liver damage and cancer.<br />Country mallow, used for allergies, asthma, weight loss, bronchitis, and nasal congestion, but linked to heart attack and arrhythmia, stroke, and death.<br />Germanium, used for pain, infections, glaucoma, liver problems, arthritis, osteoporosis, heart disease, HIV/AIDS, and cancer, but linked to kidney damage and death.<br />Greater celandine, used for upset stomach, irritable bowel syndrome, liver disorders, detoxification, and cancer, but linked to liver damage.<br />Kava, used for anxiety (and is possibly effective, according to Consumer Reports), but linked to liver damage.<br />Lobelia, used for coughs, bronchitis, asthma, smoking cessation, but linked to toxicity, with overdose linked with fast heartbeat, very low blood pressure, coma, and possible death.<br />Yohimbe, used as an aphrodisiac, for chest pain or diabetic complications, depression, and erectile dysfunction (and possibly effective, according to Consumer Reports), but linked to high blood pressure and rapid heart rate at usual doses and at high doses linked to severe low blood pressure, heart problems, and death.<br />4 Top Picks<br />Healthy Foods and Treats for Your Dog <br />Is Your Diet Meeting Your Health Goals? <br />Know Your Health Risks? Get a Personalized Report <br />What's Good About Iced Tea? <br />
The possible problems listed for each are based on either case reports or clinical research, Metcalf tells WebMD. The report updates a previous investigation on supplements done by Consumer Reports, Metcalf says. The publication thought it important to update the information, she says, as ''half the adult population takes some supplement."
In 2009, more than $26 billion was spent in the U.S. on supplements, according to the Nutrition BusinessJournal, a trade publication. In the last five years, supplement sales have increased by nearly 6% a year, according to Carla Ooyen, a spokeswoman for the publication.
Despite the popularity of supplements, Metcalf says, "You need to be extremely careful about buying nutritional supplements, because there are several different ways they can be harmful."
Some supplements, she says, include ingredients that can be ''inherently harmful" and lack proof of effectiveness.
In other cases, manufacturer error may lead to excess amounts of ingredients in products. That was the case for a Tennessee man who took a supplement and experienced diarrhea, joint pain, hair loss, lung problems, and had fingernails and toenails fall off. In his case, detailed in the report, an inspection of the supplement maker's facilities found the samples had more than 200 times the labeled amount of selenium and up to 17 times the recommended intake of chromium, according to the report, citing FDA information.
Dietary supplements are regulated under the Dietary Supplement and Health Education Act of 1994. Under an amendment effective in 2007, manufacturers are now required to report serious adverse events.
But Metcalf and others think the FDA needs more regulatory power. ''The FDA should be given more power to yank these things form the market [when found ineffective]," Metcalf says.
Dietary Supplements: Industry Views
The report is termed ''a little bit sensationalized" by Andrew Shao, PhD, a spokesman for the Council for Responsible Nutrition, a trade group.
"Any time you pick adverse experiences from a handful of individuals, you know it is being sensationalized,” he says. “It doesn't represent the totality of the evidence."
"Some of these ingredients [in the report] have been flagged by the FDA years ago," Shao says. But he also acknowledges that despite this, the ingredients are still readily available.
Like Consumer Reports, he says more enforcement power is needed by the FDA.
Another expert took exception to some parts of the report, saying some of the ingredients Consumer Reports calls dangerous are not when used appropriately. But he agrees with other points. "I agree some should be avoided," says Mark Blumenthal, founder and executive director of the American Botanical Council, a nonprofit research and education organization in Austin, Texas. On his list: coltsfoot, comfrey, and yohimbe.
Consumers should always discuss supplement use with their health care provider, Blumenthal says. His organization favors stronger regulations, including the requirement to report adverse events, he says.
In the report, Consumer Reports also identifies 11 supplements "to consider." On that list: calcium, cranberry, fish oil, glucosamine sulfate, lactase, lactobacillus, psyllium, pygeum, SAMe, St. John's wort, and vitamin D.
For safer supplement use, Metcalf says, consumers can beware of products that have been linked with the most problems -- those for weight loss, sexual enhancement, and body building.
A product that has a "USP Verified" mark means the manufacturer has asked the U.S. Pharmacopeia, a nonprofit standards-setting authority, to verify the quality, purity, and potency of its raw ingredients or the finished product.
Consumers can also check out alerts and advisories regarding dietary supplements on the web sites of the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements and the FDA.
4 Top Picks
Hip Pain: Causes and Treatment<br />The hip joint is designed to withstand repeated motion and a fair amount of wear and tear. This ball-and-socket joint -- the body's largest -- fits together in a way that allows for fluid movement. Whenever you use the hip (for example, by going for a run), a cushion of cartilage helps prevent friction as the hip bone moves in its socket.<br />Despite its durability, the hip joint isn't indestructible. With age and use, the cartilage can wear down or become damaged. Muscles and tendons in the hip can get overused. The hip bone itself can be fractured during a fall or other injury. Any of these conditions can lead to hip pain.<br />If your hips are sore, here is a rundown of what might be causing your discomfort and how to find hip pain relief.<br />Causes of Hip Pain<br />These are some of the conditions that are most likely to cause hip pain:<br />Arthritis . Arthritic conditions such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are among the most common causes of hip pain, especially in older adults. Arthritis leads to inflammation of the hip joint and the breakdown of the cartilage that normally cushions your hip bones. The pain gradually gets worse as the arthritis progresses. People with arthritis also feel stiffness and have reduced range of motion in the hip.<br />Hip fractures. Fractures of the hip are a particular problem in elderly people. With age, the bones can become weak and brittle. Weakened bones are more likely to fracture during a fall.<br />Bursitis . Inflammation of the small, fluid-filled sacs (called bursae) that protect muscles and tendons is usually due to repetitive activities that overwork or irritate the hip joint.<br />Tendinitis. Tendons are the thick bands of tissue that attach bones to muscles. Tendinitis is inflammation or irritation of the tendons. It's usually caused by repetitive stress from overuse.<br />Muscle or tendon strain. Repeated activities can put strain on the muscles, tendons, and ligaments that support the hips. When these structures become inflamed from overuse, they can cause pain and prevent the hip from functioning normally.<br />Cancers. Tumors that start in the bone (bone cancer) or that spread to the bone can cause pain in the hips, as well as in other bones of the body.<br />Avascular necrosis (also called osteonecrosis). This condition occurs when blood flow to the hip bone is reduced and the bone tissue dies as a result. Although it can affect other bones, avascular necrosis most often occurs in the hip. It can be caused by a hip fracture or dislocation, or from the long-term use of high-dose steroids (such as prednisone), among other causes<br />Symptoms of Hip Pain<br />Depending on the condition that caused your hip pain, you might feel the discomfort in your:<br />thigh<br />inside of the hip joint<br />groin<br />outside of the hip joint<br />buttocks<br />Sometimes pain from other areas of the body, such as the back or groin (from a hernia) can radiate to the hip.<br />You might notice that your pain gets worse with activity, especially if it's caused by arthritis. Along with the pain, you might have reduced range of motion. Some people develop a limp from persistent hip pain.<br />Hip Pain Relief<br />If your hip pain is caused by a muscle or tendon strain, osteoarthritis, or tendinitis, you can usually relieve it with an over-the-counter pain medication such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug such as ibuprofen (Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve). <br />Rheumatoid arthritis treatments also include prescription anti-inflammatory medications such as corticosteroids, or disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) like methotrexate and sulfasalazine.<br />Another way to relieve hip pain is by holding ice to the area for about 15 minutes a few times a day. Try to rest the affected joint as much as possible until you feel better.<br />If you have arthritis, exercising the hip joint with low-impact exercises (swimming is a good non-impact exercise for arthritis), stretching, and resistance training can reduce pain and improve joint mobility. Physical therapy can also help increase your range of motion.<br />When osteoarthritis becomes so severe that the pain is intense or the hip joint becomes deformed, a total hip replacement (arthroplasty) may be a consideration. People who fracture their hip sometimes need surgery to fix the fracture or replace the hip.<br />Call your doctor if your pain doesn't go away, or if you notice swelling, redness, or warmth around the joint. Also call if you have hip pain at night or when you are resting.<br />Get medical help right away if:<br />The hip pain came on suddenly.<br />A fall or other injury triggered the hip pain.<br />Your joint looks deformed or is bleeding.<br />You heard a popping noise in the joint when you injured it.<br />The pain is intense.<br />You can't put any weight on your hip.<br />
6 Top Concentration Killers
Straying from the task at hand? Here's how to regain your focus.
By Jen UscherWebMD Feature
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD
Unanswered emails are clogging your inbox, you’re wondering when you’ll find time to pick up the dry cleaning, and your brain is foggy from too little sleep.
It’s not surprising you have such a hard time tackling the projects at work and at home that demand your full attention.
To help you concentrate, experts say you first need to identify what's derailing you. Here are six common concentration wreckers and what you can do about them.
“Multitaskers might feel like they’re getting more done, but it almost always takes longer to multitask than to devote your attention to one thing at a time,” says psychologist Lucy Jo Palladino, PhD, author of Find Your Focus Zone: An Effective New Plan to Defeat Distraction and Overload.
We lose time shifting between tasks. In a 2001 study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, researchers from the University of Michigan and the Federal Aviation Administration did tests in which people solved math problems or classified geometric objects. The researchers found that people lost time when they switched between tasks. And when the tasks were more complex or unfamiliar, they took even more time to switch tasks.
The key, Palladino tells WebMD, is be choosy about when you multitask. It’s OK to talk on the phone while you’re folding the laundry, for example, but not while you’re working on a difficult or high-priority task - say, proofreading a report.
Dull tasks can sap your ability to focus and make you more vulnerable to distractions.
“When you’re bored, almost anything else can be more attractive than what you’re doing,” says Gordon Logan, PhD, a psychology professor at Vanderbilt University.
Logan's tip: Give yourself little rewards, like a coffee or a favorite snack, for staying on task for a specific period of time.
“When a colleague of mine had to review a complex grant proposal, she rewarded herself with a chocolate-covered raisin each time she finished reading a page,” Logan says.
It’s also good to schedule breaks -- to take a 10-minute walk outside, for example -- so you’ll have something to looking forward to and a chance to recharge.
Boredom is one case when multitasking may work in your favor.
“Multitasking is often a help when you’re doing something so boring that you’re understimulated,” Palladino says.
If you’re having a hard time focusing on washing the dishes or filing your receipts, for instance, listening to the radio or texting a friend at the same time may keep you motivated.
3. Mental Distractions
When you’re worrying about money, trying to remember if you took your vitamins, and replaying a conversation in your head that didn’t go as planned, it's hard to settle down and stay focused on a project you’re trying to complete.
Those types of distractions -- the ones that are in your head -- “have a lot of power over us,” says Michael J. Baime, MD, clinical associate professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and director of the Penn Program for Mindfulness.<br />One way to let go of these nagging thoughts is to quickly write them down. Add items to your to-do list, for instance, or vent your frustrations in a journal entry.<br />If you’re stressed about a certain problem, find a time to talk about it with someone you trust. “If you have a supportive, active listener, it can help drain away some of the tension that is bouncing around in your head,” says Daniel Kegan, PhD, JD, an organizational psychologist.<br />Meditation can also help.<br />“When you’re meditating, you learn to manage distracting thoughts so they don’t compel your attention so strongly. You discover how to refocus the attention and take it back and place it where you want it,” Baime tells WebMD.<br />In a 2007 study, Baime's team found that people who took an eight-week meditation course improved their ability to focus their attention.<br />To learn the basic techniques of meditation - such as focusing on the sensation of breathing and then transferring that focus to other sensations in the body -- Baime recommends taking an eight-week mindfulness-based stress reduction class, either in person or online.<br />4. Electronic Interruptions<br />“It’s easy to fall into aiding and abetting in your own distraction by checking your email all the time,” Kegan says. “If you’re trying to concentrate, you can lose your train of thought every time you hear ‘You’ve got mail’.”<br />We often feel like we need to respond to an email, text, instant message, or voice mail as soon as it’s received. But Palladino suggests drawing some lines so you’re not letting technology control you.<br />Carve out blocks of time when you can focus on your work without electronic interruptions. Try checking your email at set times each day (rather than constantly), and close your email program the rest of the time.<br />It may also help to change location. Take your laptop to a spot where you know you won’t have wireless access to the Web for a few hours, for example.<br />5. Fatigue<br />Many studies show that loss of sleep impairs attention, short-term memory, and other mental functions. “Your attention falls apart when you’re sleep deprived,” Baime says. Sleep needs vary, but most adults do best with 7-9 hours of nightly sleep. Getting at least seven hours of sleep will go a long way toward improving your focus during the day.<br />Also, try scheduling tasks that need more concentration during the times of day when you’re feeling the most alert. “Pay attention to your own biorhythms,” Kegan says, “and learn which times of day you work best.”<br />4 Top Picks<br />Health Check: Have a Real Talk With Your Doc <br />Brain Foods That Help You Focus <br />Always Tired? Find Out What's Wrong <br />What Motivates You to Change Your Diet? <br />
6. Drug Side Effects and Other Medical Issues
If your concentration problems hamper your ability to function at work or at home, or if you’re also noticing a physical symptom like weight gain or insomnia, tell your doctor. Poor concentration can stem from conditions such as ADHD, sleep apnea, depression, anemia, or thyroid disease. Certain medications, such as those used to treat depression, epilepsy, or influenza (flu) infections, may cause concentration difficulties as a side effect, as well.
Brace yourself: Sugar Isn’t the only dental villain.
No. 2: Enamel is the hardest substance in the body, but it can break easily.
Ice, popcorn, and tongue and lip piercings can chip teeth.
And unlike skin, teeth can’t re-grow. “We’re not like beavers,” says American Dental Association spokesman Richard Price, DMD.
Dentists detest ice and popcorn. Eating a popcorn kernel is like eating “stone,” Price says. And ice is brittle. “You have a combination of something ultra hard and something ultra hard,” he says. Be especially careful if your mouth is full of fillings. “You wouldn’t run a marathon with a bad leg,” he says. “Don’t chomp away if your teeth aren’t as strong as they used to be.”
Dentists also “hate” piercings of the tongue and lip, says Nuntiya Kakanantadilok, DMD, director of the division of pediatric dentistry at Montefiore Medical Center. The metal jewelry harbors bacteria -- and can chip teeth.
A metal barbell-like tongue ring is especially bad. “Every time you talk, it hits your teeth,” says Paul Casamassimo, DDS, a spokesman for the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and chairman of pediatric dentistry at Ohio State University.
A 2007 review study published in the American Journal of Dentistry showed that 14% to 41% of people with oral piercings suffered from tooth fractures and wear. They noted that piercing in the mouth may cause “significant oral deformities” and “may lead to tooth loss.”
To keep healthy teeth, treat them with TLC. “Don’t use your teeth as pliers,” Price says. “They weren’t made to straighten out the tine of the fork.”
No. 3. You can be missing teeth at any age.
Although many people get a tooth, or all 32, pulled, some folks are born missing choppers. The most common missing ones are the wisdom teeth. The second most common is the lateral incisor, which is located next to the big front tooth. People can inherit missing teeth.
Still, the most frequent causes of tooth loss are gum disease and cavities.
A number of people find it cheaper and easier to pull all their teeth than to pay for fillings and implants. After all, implants can cost about $2,000 per tooth, whereas a cheap set of dentures can cost less than $1,000, Keels says.
Studies show that 22.8% of Americans 65-74 and 29.4% of Americans 75 and older wear dentures.
No. 4: Too much fluoride can be bad for your teeth.
We know that fluoride is important for healthy teeth. But kids who ingest excessive amounts of this substance when they’re 8 or younger, when their permanent teeth are developing under the gums, can develop a condition known as fluorosis. Typically fluorisis starts out causing white spots, but they can become brown. Unfortunately, fluorisis stains are “intrinsic,” which means the dentist cannot simply polish off a surface stain.
Excessive fluoride causes teeth to become porous. The problem is not the water supply: Since 1950, the American Dental Association has recommended fluoridation of community water supplies because it makes teeth harder and more resistant to decay. The problem occurs when children ingest extra fluoride, typically by swallowing too much toothpaste. Unlike water, toothpaste “is meant to work only topically,” Kakanantadilok says.
To make sure children don’t swallow toothpaste, supervise them while they’re brushing. Tell them to squeeze out only a pea-size amount of paste so that they won’t accidentally swallow too much. Most cases of fluorosis involve children who used more than that. Kakanantadilok recommends that kids stick to fluoride-free paste until they understand that they need to spit it out, not swallow it.
No. 5: Braces can cause cavities.
Brush well if you want your straightened teeth to be healthy teeth. Otherwise, food, bacteria, and acid stuck around braces can “slough the enamel away,” says Raymond George Sr., DMD, president of the American Association of Orthodontists.
The result can look bad.
“You actually start forming cavities around the brackets of the braces,” Kakanantadilok says. Even if the decay doesn’t fully develop into a cavity, it can cause “demineralization.” The result are light spots on the teeth. (As cavities progress, they then get darker.)
The tongue is nature’s toothbrush, Keels says. When people get braces, they tend to stop rubbing their tongue against their teeth because it’s not comfortable to hit metal. “You’re not tongue brushing anymore,” she says. The result can be a build-up of “gunk.”
About 3.9 million U.S. kids are getting orthodontic treatment, and 1.1 million U.S. adults are, too, according to the American Association of Orthodontists. In the age of perfect movie-star teeth, adults want nicer choppers, too.
But it's not just about looks. Adults also want healthier teeth. After all, Keels says, “crowded mouths are harder to clean.”
6 Best Foods You're Not Eating
From watermelon to red cabbage, find out why these foods should be part of a healthy diet.
By Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LDWebMD Feature
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD
Some foods are so healthy they star on every nutrition expert’s super food list. But often missing on those lists are some nutritional gems or underrated foods that don’t get the attention they deserve.
Sorting out the best foods to eat is not always easy because the choices can be daunting. Adding to the confusion are overrated foods like salads that are perceived to be good for you but can be health horrors.
Here are six foods not typically thought of as nutritional powerhouses that can definitely upgrade your diet. Getting to know them -- and understanding more about the nutritional goodness of foods in general -- will help you to make more informed choices that can impact your health, weight, and wallet.
Criteria for the Best Foods
In order to make our best list, foods had to be whole foods that are familiar, widely available, affordable, nutrient-rich -- and most importantly, taste great. After all, what good is a super food if it isn’t a culinary delight?
Beyond the obvious ‘health halo’ super foods like blueberries, nuts, and salmon, WebMD asked nutrition experts for their opinion of the best underrated foods that belong on your menus. Here are their top six picks:
1. Beans and Lentils
Make no beans about it, beans and lentils are among the most overlooked items in the grocery store. Beans really are nutrition superstars rich in protein, fiber, complex carbs, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc.
New York-based nutrition consultant and author of Read It Before You Eat It, Bonnie Taub Dix, MA, RD says healthy foods like beans and lentils defy the recommendation to only shop the perimeter of the grocery store. “There are hundreds of essential foods like beans and lentils lining the shelves in the center aisles that should not be overlooked.”
Versatile and easy on your wallet, Taub-Dix suggests lowering the sodium in canned beans by approximately 40% by thoroughly rinsing the beans in water.
Elisa Zied, MS, RD, author of Nutrition at Your Fingertips, says we don’t come close to eating the three cups a week recommended by the U.S. government's 2005 Dietary Guidelines. “Eating a diet rich in legumes can help promote weight loss and has been shown to lower LDL [low-density "bad" cholesterol] and raise HDL [high-density "good" cholesterol],” she says.
Toss these nuggets into soups, stews, salads, grain medleys, or greens or create a veggie dip by pureeing beans and adding your favorite seasoning, like hummus made from chickpeas.
Watermelon is everyone’s favorite summertime fruit. But because it is so naturally sweet, some people avoid it because they think it is high in sugar.
Elizabeth Ward, MS, RD and author of Expect the Best, says watermelon should be a staple in everyone’s diet. “It is fun to eat, sweet, juicy, low in calories, and chock full of vitamins C, A, potassium, and lycopene. Because it is so high in water, it helps meet fluid needs.”
A bonus is that the thick peel keeps pesticides far from the flesh, earning it a spot on the Environmental Working Groups ‘clean 15’ produce with least pesticide residue.
3. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are often thought of as high in calories and carbs because they are so naturally sweet. But don’t let that fool you.
American Dietetic Association spokeswoman Heather Mangieri, MS, RD says “sweet potatoes are nutritional all-stars and one of the best vegetables you can eat. Not only are they a great source of beta carotene, vitamin C, fiber, and potassium, but this highly underrated vegetable is so versatile it can be enjoyed with very few extra calories or embellishment.”
She suggests topping a slow-baked sweet potato with a sprinkle of cinnamon, applesauce, and crushed pineapple -- or black beans and salsa. Other options: Mash it or slice into fries and oven bake until golden brown.
4. Red Cabbage
Sarasota, Fla. physician and registered dietitian Christine Gerbstadt MD, RD, votes for the cruciferous vegetable, red cabbage.
“A great source of fiber, vitamins A, D, and K; folate; and lots of trace minerals with only 22 calories in one cup chopped," Gerbstadt says. " Rich in antioxidants, this veggie can boost cancer-fighting enzymes. You can eat it raw, cooked, sweet, savory, stand-alone in a dish like coleslaw, or add it to almost anything from soups, salads, casseroles, sandwiches, burgers, and more.”
She suggests keeping a head of red cabbage in your crisper to inspire creative ways to add more color and nutrition to your meals.
5. Canned Tomatoes
Fire-roasted petite diced tomatoes are a staple in the pantry of Georgia State University professor emeritus Chris Rosenbloom, PhD, RD. “Everyone thinks fresh is best but cooking tomatoes helps release some of the disease-fighting lycopene so it is better absorbed," Rosenbloom says.
A study in the 2009 Journal of Clinical Oncology shows that a diet rich in tomatoes may help prevent prostate cancer and that lycopene, a strong antioxidant, may also help prevent other types of cancer. Of course, many other lifestyle and genetic factors also affect cancer risk.
Stock your pantry with canned tomatoes for pizza, spaghetti sauce, and home-made salsa or toss a can into soups, stews, casseroles, greens, or pasta dishes. And if your power goes out, "canned foods are a lifesaver," Rosenbloom says.
If canned tomatoes are not your favorite, how about low-sodium vegetable juice? Miami registered dietitian Sheah Rarback, MS, RD, nominates the vegetable juice that has been around for a long time with only 140 mg sodium and an excellent source of vitamin C and potassium.
6. Plain, Nonfat Greek Yogurt
There are many yogurts on the market, and plain, nonfat Greek yogurt is a standout.
All yogurts are excellent sources of calcium, potassium, protein, zinc, and vitamins B6 and B12. What distinguishes Greek yogurt is its thicker, creamier texture because the liquid whey is strained out. Also, it contains probiotic cultures and is lower in lactose and has twice the protein content of regular yogurts.
“Skip the extra sugar calories found in most yogurts and pump up the protein by choosing Greek yogurt that contains twice as much protein, which is great for weight control because it keeps you feeling full longer,” says Judith Rodriguez, PhD, RD, president of the American Dietetic Association and nutrition professor at University of North Florida.
Rodriguez suggests pairing the tart yogurt with the natural sweetness of fresh fruit or your favorite wholegrain cereal.