Calcium is the most abundant mineral found in the body and a basic nutrient for maintaining optimal health at any age. Although the main role of calcium is to strengthen bones and teeth, there are other benefits of this nutrient on the body. Find out everything you need to know about calcium and how it works in the body!
The role of calcium in the body
Although many people associate calcium only with bones and teeth, the composition of which is 99%, it is important to remember that the mineral is found in all organs of the human body - blood, muscles, heart, nerves, etc.
The role of calcium in the body overflows with several systems and organs of the body, contributing to the functioning of several basic functions:
- strengthens the immune system;
- strengthens bones and teeth;
- supports the skeletal structure of the body;
- helps the absorption of nutrients in the body;
- contributes to the transport of nutrients to organs (for example, it transports iron to cell membranes);
- contributes to the smooth functioning of the muscles;
- helps the optimal functioning of the central nervous system;
- contributes to brain development and brain activity;
- regulates the process of blood coagulation;
- prevents the risk of colon, prostate and rectal cancer;
- regulates heart rate or pulse and stabilizes blood pressure.
Recommended daily dose of calcium depending on age
The recommended daily doses of calcium differ depending on the age, but also on certain particularities or changes in the physiological evolution of each person. For example, young children need more calcium to grow large and strong, while women entering menopause have to increase their calcium intake due to hormonal changes and the risk of osteoporosis.
Here are the recommended daily doses of calcium for each age group, with the mention that they are only indicative. They can be reduced or supplemented, depending on the health and the doctor's recommendations:
- 0-6 months - 200 mg;
- 7 months- 1 year - 260 mg;
- 1-3 years - 700 mg;
- 4-8 years - 1000 mg;
- 9-13 years - 1300 mg;
- 14-18 years - 1300 mg;
- 19-50 years - 1000 mg;
- 51-70 years (men) - 1000 mg;
- 51-70 years (women) - 1200 mg;
- over 71 years - 1200 mg;
- Pregnant or breastfeeding adolescents - 1300 mg;
- Pregnant or breast-feeding women - 1000 mg.
Sources of calcium
Nutrition is the main source of calcium, at any age, but in special cases, the doses obtained from the diet can be supplemented with dietary supplements. There are plenty of foods high in calcium that must be found in the daily menu of any person:
- dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt, etc.);
- oilseeds (pistachios, nuts, seeds, almonds, etc.);
- green vegetables (spinach, cabbage, asparagus, stevia, broccoli etc.);
- fortified whole grains;
- fortified drinks - fruit juices, mineral water;
- fish (salmon, sardines, etc.).
Lack of calcium (hypocalcemia)
Lack of calcium in the body can lead to serious health problems. When your body's calcium levels fall below normal limits it is called hypocalcemia. It manifests through tingling and numbness of the limbs, sensation of suffocation, palpitations and dizziness. It is favored by several factors related to lifestyle or health status:
- excess salt, sugar, alcohol, coffee;
- poor nutrition, rich in flour and pastry products;
- drug abuse - birth control, laxatives etc.
- chronic diseases (diabetes, kidney, etc.);
- hormonal disorders - menopause, disorders of the thyroid gland, etc .;
Among the main areas of the body affected by hypocalcemia are nerves, the brain, muscles and bones, which are prone to a lot of serious conditions.
Excess calcium (hypercalcemia)
Hypercalcemia is a medical condition opposite to hypocalcemia, characterized by exceeding the normal level of calcium in the blood. It is mainly caused by hyperactivity of the parathyroid glands, abuse of drugs or calcium supplements or various medical conditions (inflammatory diseases, cancer, etc.).
Among the main complications you are predisposed to in hypercalcemia are:
- kidney stones;
- disorders of the nervous system;
- arrhythmia (irregular pulse);
- renal insufficiency.
Useful information about calcium
Associated with magnesium, calcium induces sleep.
Large consumers of gaseous beverages may have damaged calcium reserves because of the phosphoric acid they contain; phosphorus is a "destroyer" of calcium.
In addition to the prevention of osteoporosis, calcium supplements can alleviate menstrual pain, as well as the moods associated with puberty.
The effects of certain antibiotics (tetracycline) can be altered by a simultaneous dose of calcium; it is recommended that these two substances be administered at a distance of at least 3 hours.
What are your sources of calcium and how much attention do you give to this mineral in your diet? Tell us your thoughts the comment section below!
Tags Calcium Calcium foods