Calcium is an essential mineral found in many foods and plays a role in many other functions. You probably already associate calcium with bone health. If so, you’re already on the right track. It is also a cofactor for several enzymes, helping them work efficiently. Calcium makes up a considerable 2% of your body’s weight. Almost all of the body’s calcium (estimated at 99%) is stored in the bones and teeth for structural support. The remaining calcium is used in other functions throughout your body, making it a critical component of your health for many reasons, some of which may be surprising.
Your body doesn’t make calcium on its own. This means you need to consume calcium through a nutritious diet or with supplements. Between the ages of 19 and 50, 1,000 mg is recommended daily. After 50, 1,200 mg is recommended daily for females, whereas 1,000 mg is adequate or men until they reach 70.
Some of the best food sources of calcium are:
If you are lactose intolerant, seek out another source of dietary calcium. Calcium supplements are helpful in boosting intake, but the first source of calcium should be your diet.
One of the biggest challenges of calcium intake is ensuring proper absorption. Even if you have a healthy, calcium-rich diet, calcium cannot be absorbed without Vitamin D. The best source of Vitamin D is sunshine. Because of this, many people are deficient. This includes people who live in northern climates and people who do not spend time outside. A supplement can help replenish your Vitamin D levels.
Calcium deficiency may occur for several reasons. Common reasons include:
Deficiency can cause several health issues, the most common being weakened bones and conditions like osteoporosis. Other signs of deficiency include muscle weakness, increased blood pressure, arthritis, and loose teeth. This is why calcium is so important; it benefits some of the most important functions in your body.
Calcium intake is needed for bone development from childhood through adulthood. Intake is also necessary to maintain peak bone mass in adulthood. Without adequate calcium intake, bones become thinner, more brittle, and more prone to fractures and breaking. Weakened bones also leads to osteoporosis, which is identified as a loss of bone mass. People with osteoporosis are at risk for serious health complications due to falls. Women are more prone to osteoporosis than men, but that doesn’t mean men are in the clear. Anyone can get osteoporosis, making calcium intake essential throughout a lifetime.
Calcium helps regulate muscle contractions by interacting with magnesium. When nerves are stimulated by muscles, calcium is released. Calcium binds to proteins in muscles, generating a contraction. Magnesium blocks calcium to help muscles relax. When calcium is pumped out of the muscle, the muscle relaxes. This is an important process for muscle function.
Some studies show that adults and children with low calcium intake are also more likely to gain weight. Calcium does not necessarily accelerate weight loss; however, it is involved in maintaining a healthy metabolism that is needed to maintain a healthy weight.
Calcium is critical for developing and maintaining healthy jawbones and your teeth. It helps hold your teeth in place and works with phosphorus in childhood to develop the strength of your teeth. Calcium is part of tooth enamel, which helps protect your teeth from bacteria and tartar that leads to cavities and diminished oral health.
Your blood vessels need calcium to help move blood and nutrients through blood vessels. This includes hormones and enzymes that impact nearly every function in the body.
There is a link between low calcium intake and increased symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. Calcium may help reduce common signs of PMS, including discomfort, fatigue, fluctuating mood, bloating, and food cravings. A healthy diet rich in calcium will contribute to minimizing these uncomfortable PMS symptoms that get in the way of daily life.
Most people don’t think of calcium as playing a role in heart health, but calcium is required by the heart. It is involved in the process that helps contract and pump blood throughout your body. Sufficient amounts of calcium assist cardiac muscles with contraction and relaxation. Calcium also helps maintain pressure levels in arteries and plays a role in maintaining a healthy blood pressure.
Calcium helps maintain the proper acid and alkaline balance in your body, helping to neutralize acidic compounds. If you consume foods such as cured meats, sugary drinks, sweet treats, and a lot of processed food, your body is consuming acidic foods. Acidity hinders proper nutrient absorption and decreases your health. Remaining acidic increases health risks in the long run, so it is important to support an alkaline environment in your body.
It was previously believed that calcium caused kidney stones. Modern-day research has revealed that dietary calcium is needed to help reduce the risk of kidney stones, and that other factors are more probable to their cause, such as dehydration and high oxalate consumption.
Calcium carbonate is used as a dietary supplement, but it is also used in antacids. These antacids help relieve occasional heartburn, a sour stomach, and acid indigestion.
Calcium is one of the most important minerals in the body. Continued deficiency throughout childhood and adulthood can result in negative health impacts, making dietary consumption an essential key to good health. If you are concerned about calcium intake, it is important to discuss it with your healthcare practitioner. An easy way to get calcium is with Teami De-Stress Powder, which has 325 mg of calcium in every serving.