Calcium is an essential mineral of the body. It is required for keeping the bones and teeth strong and healthy. Most of the calcium up to 90% is stored in the bones of the body. Only a small portion circulates in the blood stream.
Importance of Calcium in our Body
Calcium is needed in high quantities by pregnant women and growing children. The body takes its requirement of calcium from the bones and replenish with the daily intake of calcium through food.
Role of vitamin D in calcium absorption:
Vitamin D is also required for proper absorption of calcium. Therefore constant supply of calcium is essential to maintain the reserves of calcium in the bones and teeth. Besides this important use of calcium it is also required for proper working of the heart, muscles and nerves in the body.
It aids in blood clotting. Calcium also plays an important role in production of hormones and enzymes in the body. Because of its several benefits calcium is considered as an essential mineral of the body. Many of the people do not get this mineral in full quantity through food. Therefore to prevent calcium deficiency supplementation is necessary.
Symptoms of calcium deficiency
- Nervousness and irritability
- Muscle cramps and back pain
- Tooth decay and infections of the gums
- Decay and brittleness of the finger nails
- Numbness of the hands fingers and feet
- Heart palpitations
Daily requirement of calcium
The daily requirement of calcium is around 1000-1200 mg of calcium per day along with 200-400 IU of Vitamin D. For more absorption of calcium it is advised to take calcium with a light meal preferably at breakfast time rather than on empty stomach. In higher doses it prevents absorption of other minerals Zinc, Iron and Magnesium.
Calcium uses and health benefits
- Besides keeping the bones and teeth healthy calcium plays an important role in other vital activities of the body.
- Calcium helps to maintain blood pressure.
- A study made has revealed that people who took daily 1300 mg of calcium are less likely to get high blood pressure than the control group who consumed only 300 mg of calcium.
- Calcium reported to lower cholesterol and prevents heart attacks and strokes.
- A study made in the University of Texas showed that persons who took 2200 mg of calcium daily could reduce their cholesterol level by 6% and reduce harmful cholesterol by 11%.
- Several studies revealed that Calcium also reduces pre menstrual tension in women (PMD).
- Calcium prevents the devastating disease of osteoporosis.
- In this the bones become brittle and fragile.
- The bone density is reduced very much and bones get fractured even on a slight pressure.
- It is particularly seen in menopausal women due to calcium depletion in the body due to reduction of estrogen levels.
Foods rich in Calcium
Dairy products like Milk, Curds, Cheese, Yoghurt, Green vegetables, Broccoli, fortified orange juice, Almonds, Drum sticks leaves, carrots, mentha leaves, Mint leaves and dried beans etc. Dried fish and eggs are also rich sources of this mineral.