Calcium dietary mineral
Calcium is needed for so many different functions in the body, from bones, to blood clotting, your muscles etc. People often think of bones as a static piece of the body, where very little change occurs, but that is a totally incorrect perception. Bone is a dynamic part of the body and calcium is constantly flowing into, and out of it.
Calcium is required for
Calcium is needed for the formation and maintenance of bones, the development of teeth and healthy gums. It is necessary for blood clotting, stabilizes many body functions and is thought to assist in bowel cancer.
It has a natural calming and tranquilizing effect and is necessary for maintaining a regular heartbeat and the transmission of nerve impulses. It helps with lowering cholesterol, muscular growth, the prevention of muscle cramps and normal blood clotting.
Furthermore it also helps with protein structuring in DNA and RNA. It provides energy, breaks down fats, maintains proper cell membrane permeability, aids in neuromuscular activity and helps to keep the skin healthy. Calcium also stops lead from being absorbed into bone.
Deficiency of calcium
Prolonged bone re-absorption from chronic dietary deficiency results in osteoporosis - from either too little bone mass accumulation during growth or higher rate of bone loss at menopause. Dietary calcium deficiency also has been associated with increased risk of hypertension, and colon cancer.
When it is in short supply, a variety of symptoms from aching joints, eczema, elevated blood cholesterol, heart palpitations, brittle nails, hypertension (high blood pressure) and insomnia can become evident.
Muscle cramps, nervousness, numbness in the arms and legs, rheumatoid arthritis, convulsions, depression and delusions have also been noted.
The dosage underneath is the (RDA), but be aware that this dosage is the minimum that you require per day, to ward off serious deficiency of this particular nutrient. In the therapeutic use of this nutrient, the dosage is usually increased considerably, but the toxicity level must be kept in mind.
1,000 mg per day for people aged 19-50 years 1,200 mg per day for people over the age of 51 years.
The maximum level of calcium is 2.5 g/day. It is also recommended one to two parts of calcium and phosphorus to one part of magnesium.
Toxicity and symptoms of high intake
Excess calcium supplementation has been associated with some mineral imbalances such as zinc, but combined with a magnesium deficiency it may cause deposits to form in your kidneys, which could cause kidney stones.
Best used with
It is recommended to take one to two parts of calcium and phosphorus to one part of magnesium. Vitamin D and vitamin A are beneficial to have around this nutrient and it is great when taking a supplement that it is chelated with amino acids.
When more may be required
More calcium may be needed if you suffer from osteoporosis, are lacking in Vitamin D, if you have a gum disease or eat processed foods, ingest excess protein, fat, sugar or caffeine, salt or fizzy soda drinks.
Drinking bottled water with a low mineral content could require more dietary calcium and so may the consumption of alcohol, taking a birth control pill, diuretic (water pill) antacids or if you are on hormone replacement therapy.
Enemy of calcium
Phosphorus, sodium, alcohol, coffee and white flour aids the loss of calcium from the body, while too much protein, fat and sugars can have a negative effect with the absorption thereof. Tetracycline and calcium bond together which impairs the absorption of both.
Other interesting points
Estrogen promotes deposits of calcium in the bones.
Food sources of calcium
Milk, milk products, beans, nuts, molasses and fruit contain good amounts of calcium. Fish and seafood, as well as green leafy vegetables supply good amounts of calcium.