What is calcium?
Calcium is a mineral that is essential for human health. It is necessary for the development and maintenance of bones and teeth, and it plays a role in muscle contraction, blood clotting, and nerve function. Most of the calcium in the human body is stored in the bones and teeth.
How much calcium do I need?
The amount of calcium you need depends on your age, sex, and stage of life. The Institute of Medicine’s Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) recommends the following intakes of calcium per day:
– Children aged 1-3 years: 700 mg/day
– Children aged 4-8 years: 1,000 mg/day
– Males aged 9-18 years: 1,300 mg/day
– Females aged 9-18 years: 1,300 mg/day
– Adults aged 19-50 years: 1,000 mg/day
– Males aged 51+ years: 1,000 mg/day
– Females aged 51+ years: 1,200 mg/day
Pregnant and lactating women need more calcium than other adults. The FNB recommends the following intakes of calcium per day for pregnant and lactating women:
– Pregnant women aged 18-50 years: 1,000 mg/day
– Lactating women aged 18-50 years: 1,000 mg/day
What are the benefits of calcium?
Calcium is essential for the development and maintenance of bones and teeth. It also plays a role in muscle contraction, blood clotting, and nerve function.
What are the risks of calcium?
Too much calcium can lead to constipation and kidney stones. People who have certain medical conditions, such as hyperparathyroidism or sarcoidosis, should talk to their doctor before taking calcium supplements.
Research on calcium
Studies have shown that calcium can help prevent osteoporosis, reduce the risk of fractures, and improve bone health. Calcium has also been shown to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.
Where does Calcium come from?
Calcium is found in many foods, including dairy products, leafy green vegetables, and calcium-fortified foods. The body also absorbs calcium from supplements and from the environment, such as water and soil.
How do I get enough Calcium?
There are many ways to get enough calcium, including diet and supplements. The best way to get the recommended amount of calcium is to eat a variety of calcium-rich foods and beverages every day. Good sources of calcium include:
– Dairy products: milk, yogurt, cheese
– Leafy green vegetables: spinach, kale, collards
– Fish with edible bones: sardines, salmon, trout
– Calcium-fortified foods and beverages: orange juice, cereal, bread
What are the signs of a Calcium deficiency?
A lack of calcium can lead to osteoporosis, which is a condition that causes bones to become thin and break easily. Symptoms of osteoporosis include bone pain, fractures, and a decrease in height. A severe calcium deficiency can also cause cramps, muscle spasms, and numbness in the hands and feet.
Pharmacokinetics of Calcium
Calcium is absorbed from the gut and enters the bloodstream. It is then distributed to the bones and other tissues, where it is stored for future use. Calcium is excreted in the urine and faeces.
Long-term effects of Calcium
There are no known long-term effects of calcium. However, too much calcium can lead to constipation and kidney stones. People who have certain medical conditions, such as hyperparathyroidism or sarcoidosis, should talk to their doctor before taking calcium supplements.
Alternatives to Calcium
There are no known alternatives to calcium. However, people who cannot get enough calcium from their diet may need to take supplements. Supplements are available in a variety of forms, including tablets, capsules, and liquids.
How long does Calcium stay in the system?
Calcium is excreted in the urine and faeces. Most of the calcium that is not excreted is stored in the bones and teeth.
What causes Calcium deficiency?
A lack of calcium can be caused by a number of factors, including:
– Poor diet: A diet that does not include enough calcium-rich foods can cause a deficiency.
– Malabsorption: Conditions that prevent the body from absorbing calcium from the gut can lead to a deficiency.
– Kidney disease: Kidney disease can cause a decrease in calcium levels.
– Medications: Some medications, such as corticosteroids and anticonvulsants, can decrease calcium levels.
– Aging: As people age, they tend to lose calcium. This can lead to osteoporosis and fractures.