Nutrition

Importance of Calcium in Our Health

Importance of Calcium in Our Health

Most important mineral of the body that is CALCIUM.  Calcium is important for our bone ,  teeth, and other body functions. With vitamin D it prevent us from cancer, diabetes, and hypertension also. For proper functioning  of heart, muscle, and nerves we need it. Milk and dairy products are a rich source of it. Adequate calcium throughout the body depends on the balance between its  absorption and excretion.

                

calcium
Importance of Calcium in our health

Daily requirement of calcium

1000 mg   per day for a normal person. Women above 50 years need 1200 mg.
1500 mg/day during childhood and adolescence, and at least 800 mg/day during growth between 6 to 11 years old.
Increase requirement in pregnancy and lactation
Total  in our body is about 1 kg.
Do you know 99% of our total body calcium found in our bones in the form calcium phosphate salts? Remaining  1% is very important for our heart, nerves, and other body functioning.  Our body unable to form this so we depend on  a diet for  it.  About 20-30% of dietary  calcium is available for body functions. When we do not take it in proper amount then body uses stored calcium from our bones.
Hormones involved in regulating  plasma calcium levels are vitamin D, calcitonin, and parathyroid hormone.
Normal  blood level- 8.8-10.4 mg/dl

Rich source of Calcium

Dairy products – milk, yogurt and cheese are a rich source of it that is simple form easy to digest.
Beans- white beans, black beans, kidney beans are also a rich source.
Green vegetables-  turnip greens, mustard greens, cabbage, broccoli, fennel, asparagus etc.
Other sources- salmon, sablefish, orange, almond, tofu, fortified juices etc.
Milk and dairy products- 1 cup 280-300 mg calcium
Cooked spinach- 1 cup 245 mg
Soybean – 1 cup  175 mg
White beans- 1 cup 161 mg
Fig – 10 dried 269 mg
Tofu- ½ cup 258 mg
Fortified  orange juice – 1 cup  270 mg
Calcium supplements
Better to fulfill your  need  by food. Supplement dose more than 1000 mg  per day not good for health and damage the heart. Do not  take more than 500 mg per day . Follow instructions of your doctor. Take supplements with food or just after a meal for good  absorption. Take supplements with Vitamin D for better absorption of it.

Functions of calcium

Calcium and bone
90% of total  stored in our bones . But we stored  it up to adolescence and use it in future. 90% of skeleton formation occur at the age 18 years. So this is a very important age for storage of calcium. Up to the age 35 years, our bone formation is more than a bone loss  so our bone are strong at this time. After that bone loss is more than bone formation so bone become weak and they are more prone to fracture.
Calcium and other systems
Due to it, teeth become healthy and strong.
It has many roles in functions of another system of a body. Its role in muscle contraction, blood clotting, to keep heart rate normal and send a message in the nervous system.

Calcium and diseases

Calcium deficiency leads to anxiety , depression and mood disorders. When the body can not get sufficient amount from food then  take from bones and bones become weak, prone to fracture.
Low  intake responsible for hypertension and preeclampsia.
It has a protective effect for rectal and colon cancer, hypertension and premenstrual syndrome. Low  intake and low vitamin D are a risk factor for colon and rectal cancer.
Hypocalcemia
Low level  in the blood known as hypocalcemia.
Neonatal  hypocalcemia
Occurs within two or three days of birth due to maternal diabetes or small for their age baby.
Symptoms
-poor feeding
-increase heart rate
-slow respiration
-seizures
Hypocalcemia in children and adults causes symptoms
-muscle spasms and muscle cramps
-confusion, memory loss, depression
-numbness and tingling in hands and feet
-weak and brittle nails
-more prone to fracture bones
Hypocalcemia  is treated by taking calcium rich food and calcium supplements. In  severe  deficiency treated  by calcium injections.

Avoid food substances those decrease calcium absorption

Caffeine-  Better to drink coffee with milk otherwise more than 2 cups per day causes loss of calcium.
Soft drinks-  Avoid soft drinks and soda because to balance phosphorus in drinks calcium loss occurs.
Alcohol-  Reduce alcohol intake by less than 5 serving per week to prevent its loss.
Salt –  Do not eat fast and processed foods. Packaged or canned foods. Cut your salt intake that hinder its absorption.
Do regular exercise.
Maintain  body weight.
So make a habit  to add  calcium rich foods in your diet for maintenance of calcium level.  Regular exercise and maintain a healthy weight also good for you.  Encourage your children to drink milk every day to store it in bones for future needs.  

3 Comments

  1. Very detailed an informative article. And for me, timely help 🙂
    In my living room, I have written three symbols on a board :- K, Ca, Mg (as a reminder).
    I would like to add that I recently read that Cholai is among the richest sources of calcium, having two times Ca than milk and three times than Paalak.

    One small question. You said that after 30 yrs of age, bone loss is more than bone formation. Does it mean that we have to increase Ca intake after 30 yrs age? Does extra intake of Ca pose any health threat?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *