Calcium is a chemical element with the symbol Ca and atomic number 20. It is a soft gray alkaline earth metal that is found in the earth’s crust, as well as in the bones and teeth of animals. Calcium is the fifth most abundant element in the Earth’s crust. It is essential for many biological processes in the body, and it provides a range of health benefits.
Benefits of Calcium
Calcium is essential for many biological processes in the body, and it provides a range of health benefits. Some of the main benefits of it include:
- Strong bones and teeth: Ca is a critical component of bone tissue, and it is essential for bone strength and density. Adequate calcium intake can help prevent osteoporosis and other bone disorders, and it also contributes to strong, healthy teeth.
- Muscle function: Ca plays a role in muscle contraction and relaxation, and it is important for muscle function throughout the body.
- Nerve function: Calcium is involved in the transmission of nerve impulses, which are essential for communication between the brain and other parts of the body.
- Blood clotting: Ca is necessary for blood clotting, which is an important process that prevents excessive bleeding.
- Lowered risk of colon cancer: Studies suggest that increased calcium intake may reduce the risk of colon cancer.
- Cardiovascular health: Adequate calcium intake has been associated with a reduced risk of hypertension (high blood pressure) and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
- PMS symptoms relief: Calcium supplementation has been shown to reduce the severity of symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome (PMS), such as mood swings, cramps, and bloating.
Overall, Ca is an important nutrient that is essential for overall health and well-being. It is important to consume adequate amounts of calcium through a balanced diet and/or supplements, but it is also important not to overdo it, as excessive Ca intake can be harmful.
Calcium rich food
Here is a table of some calcium-rich foods, along with their approximate Ca content per serving:
|Food||Serving Size||Calcium Content|
|Milk (whole)||1 cup||276 mg|
|Yogurt (plain, low-fat)||1 cup||415 mg|
|Cheese (cheddar)||1 oz||204 mg|
|Sardines (canned, with bones)||3 oz||325 mg|
|Tofu (firm, made with calcium sulfate)||1/2 cup||253 mg|
|Spinach (cooked)||1 cup||245 mg|
|Kale (cooked)||1 cup||94 mg|
|Broccoli (cooked)||1 cup||62 mg|
|Almonds||1 oz||76 mg|
|Sesame seeds||1 oz||280 mg|
|Fortified orange juice||1 cup||349 mg|
|Fortified cereal||1 cup||100-1,000 mg|
Note that the Ca content of these foods may vary depending on the brand, preparation method, and other factors. It is important to aim for a balanced diet that includes a variety of Ca-rich foods to meet your daily calcium needs.
Calcium deficiency, also known as hypocalcemia, occurs when the body does not get enough Ca to perform its essential functions. This can happen for a variety of reasons, including inadequate Ca intake, poor absorption of calcium, and certain medical conditions.
Some common symptoms of Ca deficiency include:
- Muscle cramps and spasms
- Tingling or numbness in the fingers and toes
- Weakness and fatigue
- Osteoporosis or weak bones
- Brittle nails
- Tooth decay
- Irregular heartbeat
- Depression and anxiety
Calcium deficiency can lead to long-term health problems, such as osteoporosis and other bone disorders. It can also increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and other chronic conditions.
To prevent calcium deficiency, it is important to consume a balanced diet that includes Ca-rich foods such as dairy products, leafy green vegetables, nuts, and fortified cereals. Calcium supplements may also be recommended in some cases.
If Calcium excess….
It is important to note that excessive Ca intake can also be harmful, so it is best to consult with a healthcare provider to determine the appropriate Ca intake for individual needs.
While Ca is important for the body, excessive Ca intake can lead to health problems such as kidney stones and Ca buildup in the arteries. It is recommended that adults consume 1,000 to 1,200 milligrams of Ca per day, depending on age and gender.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture. FoodData Central. Retrieved from https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/
- Weaver, C. M. (2018). Calcium. In Encyclopedia of Food and Health (pp. 53-58). Academic Press. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-384947-2.00295-1
- National Osteoporosis Foundation. What is Osteoporosis and What Causes It? Retrieved from https://www.nof.org/patients/what-is-osteoporosis/