Calcium is the most abundant mineral found in the human body. It plays a vital role to perform many functions in the body. Calcium is needed to build and maintain strong bones and teeth, the cardiovascular system and nervous system signalling. It also constituents their role in blood clotting, muscle contraction, and regulating normal heart rhythms. About 99% of calcium is found in teeth and 1% is found in blood, muscles and other tissue. Besides these calcium also works as a coenzyme for the metabolic processes in our body.
We need calcium for muscles to move and for nerves to carry messages between the brain and every part of the body. Our body does not make calcium on their own. Hence it needs to obtain calcium through our diets. Calcium also contributes to its role in blood vessels to move blood throughout the human body. It helps to release hormones affecting many functions in the human body. Vitamin D helps to absorb calcium in our body.
Research has proved that adequate consumption of calcium decreases the risk of fracture, osteoporosis and diabetes in some populations. The initial scientific research emphasis on calcium consumption only focused on the early stage of human life during the growth period of infancy and childhood. Now the interest in calcium requirement during the last decade has been expanded to apply to the entire life cycle of humans from birth to elder years.
Foods Provide Calcium:
Our body does not produce calcium on their own. Hence to provide calcium to our body we need to eat calcium-rich food. There are some foods that complete the requirements of calcium in our bodies.
- Dairy-rich products like cheese, milk, and yoghurt are rich in calcium. It also tends to absorb the best source of it. Calcium is not absorbed as well from plants and fortified foods.
- Some vegetables like kale, broccoli and Chinese cabbage, spinach are also good sources of calcium.
- Calcium is also found in some beverages. It includes fruit juices and milk substitutes such as soy and almond beverages.
- Orange juice and cereal foods are often fortified with calcium. Calcium citrate malate is well-absorbed from food found in some fortified juices.
- Fried and fresh figs give 135 mg of calcium.
- Some fruits like papaya and oranges are also rich in calcium.
Recommended Amounts Of CalciumIn Human Beings
- The recommended amount of calcium for birth to 6 months baby is 200 mg daily.
- For children from 1-3, years is 700 mg daily.
- For children from 9-13, years is 1300 mg daily.
- For women aged 19- 50 years is 1000 mg daily.
- For women 51+ 1200 mg daily.
- For pregnant and lactating women recommended dietary allowance of calcium is 1,000 mg.
- For men, 19-70 years is 1,000 mg.
The Role Of Calcium In Human Health
Because calcium is a key nutrient for the human body. It keeps bones, muscles and teeth strong as well it also participates in metabolic activity. About 99% of calcium is found in bones and less than 1 % is found in extracellular serum. As children grow calcium is required for the development of the bones and as they grew this calcium is required to maintain the bone strong. Females who experienced menopause can suffer from osteoporosis. For this doctor may advise taking supplements of calcium.
Functions Of Calcium
Research has proved that calcium involves in vascular construction, vasodilation, muscle function and nerve transmission, intracellular signalling and hormonal secretion. When blood calcium gets too low, the parathyroid hormone signal bone to release calcium into the bloodstream. This hormone can also activate vitamin D to improve calcium absorption in the intestine. At the same time, PTH signals the kidney to release calcium into the urine. When the body has enough calcium, another hormone called calcitonin does the opposite by blocking the release of calcium from the bones and signalling the kidneys to excrete more calcium into the urine.
Some experiments have revealed that a high dose of calcium may increase the risk of hypercalcemia. It can cause blood to clot or the arteries to harden which leads to cardiovascular disease. Blood clotting occurs because calcium acts as a cofactor for several enzymes involved in the cascade of events needed to begin and maintain the clotting process. Calcium also plays a role in the dilation and contraction of the blood vessels.
Earlier experiments recommended that a high intake of calcium can increase the risk of stone formation in the kidney by calcium oxalate stone, a common type of stone. Now research from large trials including the Women’s Health Initiative and the Nurses’ Health study found that a high intake of calcium may decrease the risk of stones in women. However, the same effect has not been observed with calcium supplements.
Lactose Tolerate Individuals
People who are lactose intolerant are at high risk of calcium inadequacy if they avoid dairy-rich products. Hence it is necessary to maintain the calcium from other sources.
At menopause oestrogen level decreases so calcium absorption also decreases and it leads to bone loss. Increasing calcium intake during menopause does not complete this bone loss.
Calcium plays a vital role in the human body. Approx 99 % deposits in bone and teeth. Intestinal absorption, renal absorption, and bone absorption are three major ways of calcium homeostasis. Furthermore dietary and supplement calcium and vitamin play an important role in calcium homeostasis. Low calcium intake may lead to bone disease. High intake of calcium can reduce the risk of breast cancer, and the incidence of bone loss and fracture in people. Additionally, high consumption of calcium also increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal events, kidney stones, myocardial infarction and stroke.
Disclaimer: All the content of this article is for information purposes only.