Oyster shell powder is a good source of calcium and provides a supplementary diet to treat calcium deficiency when it is mixed with rice.
Oyster shell limes are currently being sold at an affordable price in Chakaria and Anwara upazilas of Chattogram, said International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b) Executive Director, Dr Tahmeed Ahmed.
At a press briefing held in the city recently, Tahmeed said people of Chakaria and Anwara upazilas are collecting shells of oysters and snails from river banks to produce limes using traditional knowledge. They are taking the shell powders with rice to recover from various diseases such as seizures.
Tahmeed said, "After conducting research, we found that cooking 500 grams of rice with 7.5 grams of oyster shell lime can provide 200 grams of calcium for our body. A kilogram of oyster shell lime is being sold at only Tk100."
"We have to take 1000mg of calcium in our diet every day. Calcium deficiency is 26.3% among non-pregnant and non-lactating women in Bangladesh while 63% of low-income women have intakes below 200mg per day. Pre-eclampsia and eclampsia account for 24% of all maternal deaths and 2.8% of all deaths in reproductive age women in Bangladesh," he said.
"As a result, our body suffers from calcium deficiency. Calcium deficiency causes back pain, occasional pain, watery feet, convulsions, etc, especially in women. The price of calcium tablets available in the market is very high. Around 80% of the women in the country do not have the ability to buy those tablets," he added.
"It is a great pleasure to get so much calcium at such a low cost. Traditionally, the people of Chakoria-Anwara have been accepting this as a treatment for many years which we later found to be true" he said.
"Our 22-member team has successfully completed the first phase of this research. So far, we have not found any side effects in this oyster shell rice. If the government thinks about it on a larger scale, it can really give a lot of results in fulfilling the calcium deficiency of the country's population," Dr Tahmeed concluded.