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.
|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
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.
Low level in the blood known as hypocalcemia.
Occurs within two or three days of birth due to maternal diabetes or small for their age baby.
-increase heart rate
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.