You may think you are getting enough of this bone-building nutrient, but is your body actually absorbing it?
Calcium is famous for strong bones and healthy teeth, but did you also know it is essential for getting pregnant?
Two different studies have shown calcium’s role in conception. One study shows that calcium is a vital ingredient in the process of triggering growth in embryos. The more calcium in the surrounding fluid, the better.
The second study focused on what triggers sperm to abruptly convert their swimming style from a slow and steady swim of side to side motion, to a whip-cracking snap that thrusts them into the egg!
What they found was that when the sperm arrived in the alkaline environment of the reproductive tract; it triggers the tails whip-like motion. Minerals (calcium being one of the most important) help to create an alkaline environment in the reproductive tract, the nutrient that sperm soaks up, which creates the thrusting towards the egg is calcium.
Long study short, calcium is necessary for conception, a healthy reproductive system, healthy baby, and birth.
Preparing for Pregnancy with Calcium
If the above studies were not enough reasons to be taking calcium, here are some more:
Have you ever heard of the old saying “one tooth for each baby”? I first heard this saying from a friend of mine that was showing me the tooth she lost during her pregnancy. The theory is this- when you get pregnant the baby gets first dibs on everything in your system, calcium included. women who are not getting enough calcium have their calcium leached from them and bad teeth is the outcome. No studies to prove that one but something to think about!
The Best Calcium Sources From Food
The best way to get calcium is from your food. It takes some focus to get the 1000mg a day from foods but it can be done. Many sites and people recommend fortified foods to get your calcium but that is ridiculous. The type of calcium in those products is crap and your body will not absorb it. The best way to get your daily calcium is from the following foods:
Raw milk – 1 quart has 900mg of food-based calcium in it. If you are following a Nutrient-Dense Fertility Diet, you are getting your 1000mg of calcium a day.
Yogurt– calcium 225 mg per 8oz. I love redwood Hill Farm Goat Yogurt, whole of course
Cream of broccoli soup– 821mg calcium – Make your own at home with organic ingredients.
Figs, figs and figs – 10 dried figs= 300mg calcium
Spinach– What about spinach you ask…? One cup of cooked spinach contains 100mg, although only five per cent of this may be absorbed. This is due to the high concentration of oxalates, a compound in spinach that reduces calcium absorption. By contrast, one cup of cooked broccoli contains about 45mg of calcium, but the absorption from broccoli is much higher at around 50-60 per cent.
Canned salmon– 1/2c of canned salmon contains 400mg of calcium
Almond butter– 2Tbl.= 90mg
Other foods rich in calcium: sesame seeds, turnip greens, bok choy, kale, blackstrap molasses, and white beans.
In reality, there are going to be some days you don’t get the best foods in your body, but calcium is still very important, so my favorite source of food-based, absorbable calcium that you should take every day in addition to the diet suggestions above: Fertilica Coral Calcium Plus
P.S. Do not take Tums as your calcium supplement. It is not a good quality source of calcium. It is hard to assimilate and absorb calcium from this source.
Coffee– If you drink more than 2 cups of coffee or caffeinated tea, or more than two sodas, increase your daily intake of calcium an extra 200-300mg.
Oxalates and Phytates in Veggies – Due to the low absorption of calcium from veggies due to the naturally occurring oxalates and phytates, take an extra 300mg a day of calcium.
Salt– If you consume more than 2,400mg of sodium a day, get yourself an extra 100mg of calcium per 1000mg of sodium above 2400mg.
Vitamin D– Get 15 minutes of sunlight a day.
Magnesium– get around 420mg a day with your calcium. If you are eating the food sources above or using the calcium supplements, I recommended there is no need to supplement additional mag.
Prebiotics– The food for probiotics has been shown in studies to improve calcium absorption by 20% and significantly improve bone mineralization.
FOS powder can be sprinkled in foods or beverages; it has no taste and dissolves easily.
- Steinhardt, R. A., Epel, D., Carroll, E. J., & Yanagimachi, R. (1974). Is calcium ionophore a universal activator for unfertilised eggs? Nature, 252(5478), 41-43. doi:10.1038/252041a0 Retrieved from: https://www.nature.com/articles/252041a0
- Jensen, M. B., Bjerrum, P. J., Jessen, T. E., Nielsen, J. E., Joensen, U. N., Olesen, I. A., . . . Jørgensen, N. (2011). Vitamin D is positively associated with sperm motility and increases intracellular calcium in human spermatozoa. Human Reproduction, 26(6), 1307-1317. doi:10.1093/humrep/der059 Retrieved from: https://academic.oup.com/humrep/article/26/6/1307/2913983
- Aitken, R. J., Irvine, S., & Kelly, R. W. (1986). Significance of intracellular calcium and cyclic adenosine 3,5-monophosphate in the mechanisms by which prostaglandins influence human sperm function. Reproduction, 77(2), 451-462. doi:10.1530/jrf.0.0770451 Retrieved from: https://rep.bioscientifica.com/view/journals/rep/77/2/jrf_77_2_017.xml