Calcium – functions, sources, Precautions and Warnings

CALCIUM

What is Calcium?

Calcium is a mineral. It is a mineral that our body requires to maintain and develop strong bones.

Calcium is also required to carry out important functions of the body. Calcium is one of the most abundantly found minerals in the body.  

Calcium is stored in the bones and teeth. This would give them their structure and hardness.  

Calcium is a mineral that most living organisms require. It is the most vital mineral required for bone health.  

Almost 100% of the body’s calcium is stored in the bones and teeth. Calcium is found in naturally occurring food and also as supplements.

Why do we require calcium?

Calcium plays a crucial role in the body. We require calcium for

Bone health

Calcium is vital for the growth, development and maintenance of bone cells. When a child grows, calcium plays a major role in developing their bones and teeth.  

Once they stop, growing calcium helps to maintain bone density.  

After a person grows older, calcium slows down the loss of bone density.  

Erosion is a natural process due to aging, and this process slows down with the help of calcium.

Calcium is also important to prevent the chances of developing osteoporosis.  

Another important function of calcium is that it helps with muscle contraction.

Muscle contraction

Calcium will regulate muscle contraction. Whenever the nerves stimulate the muscles, the body will release calcium.

When the body pumps out calcium from the muscles, the muscles relax.  

Vital role in the cardiovascular system  

Calcium has a major role in blood clotting. Blood clotting in itself is a complex procedure and involves multiple steps.  

Every step in blood clotting involves a wide range of chemicals.  

One of the main functions of calcium is to maintain the action of heart muscles. Calcium relaxes and smooths the movement of muscles that surround the blood vessels.

Calcium helps the bones absorb adequate vitamin D, an essential nutrient for bone health.  

Some of the other important functions of calcium include

  • Lowering the risk of developing high blood pressure during pregnancy
  • Lowers blood pressure in young people
  • Calcium reduces blood pressure for mothers who consume calcium during pregnancy.
  • It improves cholesterol values.

And a primary function of calcium is that it lowers the risk of colorectal adenomas, A noncancerous tumour. Calcium is responsible for providing support to various key enzymes to work efficiently.

Sources of Calcium

Our body is not capable of producing its own calcium. Calcium can only be obtained through diet.  

People can consume calcium from a wide range of food or drinks.

Fine sources of calcium are,

  • Dairy products like milk, yoghurt and cheese
  • Dark green leafy vegetables like broccoli and spinach
  • Baked goods like bread
  • Seafood like sardines
  • Calcium infused foods
  • Soy products.  

Apart from natural sources, calcium can also be obtained through supplements.

How much calcium can be consumed?  

The recommendations differ from person to person.  

The national institutes of health recommend that adults should get 1000 milligrams of calcium per day.  

People who do not consume enough calcium as a child may not grow to their full potential. This also increases the chances of developing other health issues.

What are the precautions and warnings of calcium?  

Various research found evidence regarding the drawbacks of consuming excessive calcium in supplement form.  

Most studies claim that consuming calcium supplements without medical recommendations in excessive quantities can be dangerous.  

There can be side effects when too much calcium is in the blood. Some of the common side-effects of excessive calcium are gastrointestinal symptoms like bloating and constipation. It can also lower the level of acid in the stomach.  

Excess calcium leads to further complications like

  • Kidney problems  
  • softening the tissues and blood vessels,
  • developing kidney stones and
  • constipation

Previous studies conducted on many people by various organisations have raised concerns that consuming calcium supplements can increase the chance of

Conclusion  

Calcium is an essential mineral to build and maintain healthy bones and teeth.  

It offers a wide range of health benefits, including managing blood pressure (BP).

It is always recommended to obtain calcium through dietary sources as the body cannot produce its own.

However, people are recommended calcium supplements for specific health conditions under medical supervision.  It is always recommended to consider health care providers knowing the pros and cons of consuming calcium.  

FAQ

1. What are calcium foods?

Quality sources of calcium include dairy products, green leafy vegetables, seafood, soy products, etc.

2. Which fruit is rich in calcium?

Figs are rich in calcium. They provide around 130 mg of calcium per serving. Other fruits rich in calcium are oranges, blackcurrant and blackberries.

3. How much calcium do you need in a day? 

An average healthy adult requires approximately 700 mg of calcium per day. However, the daily requirements may vary from person to person. It is important to consult a medical professional for personalised advice.

4. What are calcium sources?

The body cannot produce calcium. It can be acquired through diet or supplements.
Some of the top foods rich in calcium are:
1· Dairy products like milk, yoghurt and cheese
2· Dark green leafy vegetables like broccoli and spinach
3· Baked foods like bread
4· Seafood like sardines
5· Calcium infused foods – cereals, seeds
6· Soy products.  

5. What is the best type of calcium to take?

Calcium malate and calcium citrate are fine forms of calcium that are more effective at raising calcium levels.

6. What is calcium deficiency?

When there is a low level of calcium in the body, it is called calcium deficiency. Hypocalcemia is a term to indicate calcium deficiency. The calcium in the body may be low without causing much symptoms. However, when there is a low calcium level for a long time, it can cause weak bones and coarse hair.

7. What is the best form of calcium to take?

 It is recommended to consume calcium through diet. It is a natural way to increase the calcium in the body. However, a doctor may suggest consuming calcium supplements for specific medical conditions.

8. What are the types of calcium?

Types of Calcium are:
1.Calcium carbonate
2.Calcium citrate  
3.Calcium gluconate  
4.Calcium lactate

9. What has more calcium than milk?

 Almonds have higher calcium content than milk. Calcium supplements also provide a lump dose of calcium to the body.

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