Calcium citrate is a calcium salt from citric acid. Calcium has a number of functions in the body other than the development and maintenance of healthy bones and teeth. It is also essential for nerve health, digestive health and heart functions. It also contributes to the growth and maintenance of healthy hair.
Your hair goes though cycles: a period of growth followed by a period of rest. The length of each cycle will vary slightly depending on the individual, but on average, the growth cycle lasts for about two years, during which time the hair will grow about a half-inch each month. The resting period, which lasts around three to four months, is when hair strands fall out and new ones grow in their place. There are around 1 million hairs on a healthy person's head, and most people shed 50 to 100 hairs each day. Though gradual thinning of the hair is caused by aging, if the rate of hair loss is greater than regrowth, baldness will occur.
Calcium and Hair Growth
Calcium is important for hair growth because the hair follicles use it to produce keratinized protein. Keratins are the strong, insoluble proteins that make up hair and nails. Keratin keeps hair shiny, healthy and strong. If the dead cell layers of the hair are kept healthy, they will help to protect the new keratin underneath.
Calcium and Hair Loss
Many things can cause hair loss including poor nutrition, illness, certain medications and excessive hairstyling. The balance between calcium and magnesium is also important for healthy hair growth. If you have too much calcium in relation to magnesium (which can be caused by eating too much sugar) your hair might become brittle and break.
How to Add Calcium Citrate to Your Diet
High amounts of calcium in the blood can be as harmful as low amounts. You should not consume more than 2,000 milligrams of calcium per day from food, supplements or both. Absorption of calcium depends on age, pregnancy and the level of vitamin D in the blood. Taking a combined calcium and vitamin D supplement can help improve absorption of calcium. Calcium citrate can be obtained from fortified orange juice or fortified cereals. You can also take calcium citrate supplements. The recommended daily dose is 1,000 to 1,300 milligrams daily. Calcium citrate should be taken just after meals.
Side Effects and Contraindications
Minor side effects include nausea, vomiting, constipation, reduced appetite and dryness of the mouth. If you experience any of these side effects, you should stop taking this supplement and consult your doctor. More serious side effects include difficulty swallowing and breathing, numbness, inability to urinate, bone pain and serious weight loss. If you experience these symptoms, you should stop taking this supplement immediately and seek emergency treatment at once. You should not take calcium citrate if you are taking other calcium supplements, tetracycline antibiotics, or are pregnant or breast feeding.