Calcium is one of the most essential minerals in our bodies, and it plays a critical role in healthy bones and teeth. It helps prevent bone loss, acts as an electrolyte that helps regulate nerve and muscle function, and also enables us to move our muscles efficiently. Getting enough calcium throughout our lives is essential to ensure strong bones now and in the future.
Calcium works by helping form new bone tissue, replacing old bone tissue, increasing mineral density in the bones, aiding wound healing, preserving joint flexibility, strengthening teeth enamel and supporting normal blood clotting. It works for these functions because it is involved in mineralization of bones and teeth along with other activities such as cell division and neurotransmitter secretion.
When calcium levels are too low or too high the body responds by removing it from the bloodstream to maintain balance. Low levels can cause:
- Muscle cramps
While a surplus of calcium can lead to:
- Impaired kidney function
- Calcification of arteries
This can make it difficult for your body to retain calcium for your bones making them weak over time if not supplemented with foods containing calcium or taken as a supplement.
What is Calcium?
Calcium is an essential nutrient, and a major component of bones and teeth. It helps to build strong bones and teeth, as well as keeps them healthy. Calcium can also help to prevent osteoporosis and other bone diseases, by ensuring that your body has adequate calcium stores for future use. In addition to its role in bone health, calcium plays a part in many important functions such as blood clotting, nerve conduction, hormone secretion and muscular contraction.
The human body requires calcium for its normal functioning, however it cannot produce it on its own. For this reason we must obtain our daily requirement of calcium from the foods that we eat or through supplements. Good sources of dietary calcium include:
- Dairy products such as milk, yogurt and cheese;
- Leafy green vegetables like kale and collard greens;
- Canned salmon;
- Fortified foods such as orange juice;
- Sardines with edible bones;
- Dried beans including soybeans;
- Cooked fish such as salmon or mackerel also provide good amounts of calcium when eaten whole with the bone in tact.
Getting enough dietary intake of calcium is important for maintaining healthy bones throughout life—from infancy through adulthood—and helps reduce risk of fractures later in life due to poor bone health. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for calcium varies according to age: those ages 19-50 require 1,000 mg a day while those over 50 should aim for 1,200 mg each day.
Calcium and Bones
Calcium is essential for strong and healthy bones. It helps to build bones and keep them strong over time. Calcium is important for both adults and children, and it is recommended to get an adequate amount of calcium in your daily diet.
In this section, we will take a look at the role of calcium in bones, how it works, and the benefits it provides.
How calcium affects bones
Calcium is essential to ensure healthy and strong bones and teeth. It helps the body to maintain a healthy level of acidity in the blood and cells, and is also important to the nerves, muscles and other parts of the body for their normal functioning.
In order for calcium to be absorbed by the body, there must be Vitamin D present, as Vitamin D helps our gut absorb calcium from food sources we eat. Calcium is not only found in milk products; it’s also found in some fruits, fish, legumes and dark green leafy vegetables. In addition, calcium dietary supplements are available for those who may not reach their weight requirement through food sources alone.
Our bodies occasionally need some type of stimulation to maintain proper bone structure development so that they do not become brittle or weak over time. Regular physical activity provides this much-needed stimulation by transferring mechanical forces on bones and stimulating bone-forming cells known as osteoblasts from three different anatomical levels:
- Weight bearing exercises (such as running or lifting something heavy);
- Loading (stretching movements where force-pull applied simultaneously); and
- Power training (explosive movements such as jumping).
When force-induced osteoblasts interact with our bone tissue, it triggers reconstruction or remodeling of bone tissue inside our skeleton–this process strengthens our bones by adding minerals such as calcium into them–resulting in a denser structure which increases overall bone strength; making us less vulnerable to fractures due to weakened bones.
Role of calcium in bone mineralization
Calcium plays an essential role in the process of bone mineralization, which is the formation of a mineral substance in and on bones. For example, calcium citrate can help promote the development of new bone cells, aiding in strengthening bones over time. Furthermore, calcium is essential for the production and maintenance of healthy bones as it helps to bind minerals together at an atomic level, forming stronger bonds between them. This makes bones more resilient to mechanical force and outside influence. Additionally, calcium helps to support the regulation of parathyroid hormone (PTH), a hormone that regulates calcium levels in our bodies and maintains strong and healthy bones.
Therefore, consuming enough calcium-rich foods is necessary for optimum skeletal health. Sources such as dairy products like milk, cheese, yogurt and orange juice are all excellent sources of dietary calcium that can be incorporated into everyday meals or snacks. Regular exercise also promotes skeleton integrity and increases overall strength; this includes weightless exercises like yoga or strength training exercises like lifting weights. Additionally, making lifestyle changes such as reducing smoking or drinking can heavily benefit bone health over time.
Thus, having a balanced diet combined with regular exercise should be practiced for strong and healthy bones for life!
Calcium and bone health
Calcium is essential for maintaining strong bones and teeth. In fact, 99% of your body’s total calcium is found in your bones and teeth! It works in several ways to provide the necessary nutrients for growth and strength. When we are young, it helps with the formation of bones and when we get older it helps to keep them strong and healthy.
The body sends signals to transfer calcium from the blood stream into our bones throughout our lifetime. This happens through an exchange of hormones, minerals and nutrients that work together to absorb calcium into the bones. The amount of calcium intake we have can make a difference in how well this process works, along with physical activity and other factors like age, gender, body type/shape/weight which all play a part in how strong or weak our bones are.
To ensure healthy bones for life it’s important to balance diet with adequate amounts of foods that contain or are rich in calcium like milk products (e.g., dairy milk) or fortified non-dairy milk (e.g., almond milk). Additionally supplementing with vitamin D has been found beneficial as does weight bearing exercise such as walking, jogging or running which help strengthen our muscles which results promoting stronger bone health. Eating a balanced diet that filters out processed foods often high in sodium but lacking any important nutrition also helps support bone health over time by providing the essential nutrients they need to stay strong while avoiding these unhealthy components that can weaken bone health over time if consumed with regularity.
Sources of Calcium
Calcium is an essential mineral that helps to strengthen our bones, teeth, and muscles. It’s important to get adequate amounts of calcium in our diets to ensure healthy bones and teeth.
Fortunately, there are many ways to get calcium, including through food and dietary supplements. In this section, we’ll take a look at the various sources of calcium:
Dietary sources of calcium
Calcium is one of the most important minerals for bone health. It helps build and maintain strong bones and teeth, and prevents bone-related conditions like osteoporosis. Most adults need about 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day, although this number may vary from person to person. The best way to get calcium is to include it in your diet.
Dietary sources of calcium include the following:
- Dairy products including milk, cheese and yogurt are some of the best sources of absorbable calcium.
- Non-dairy alternatives such as soy milk, almond milk and rice milk are fortified with calcium but typically don’t contain as much as regular dairy products do.
- Other plant-based sources such as leafy green vegetables (like kale, collard greens and turnip greens), broccoli, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, dried figs and almonds also offer significant amounts of dietary calcium.
- Canned fish like salmon or sardines with edible bones are also great sources of dietary calcium.
In addition to getting enough dietary sources of calcium, it helps to make sure your body is able to properly absorb the nutrient for maximum benefit by exercising regularly, avoiding smoking and limiting your alcohol intake.
While food-based sources of calcium are preferable for most people, supplements can also play a role in helping to reach the recommended daily intake (RDI). When choosing a supplement, look for one that provides elemental calcium, as this is the form that is readily utilised by the body. Additionally, check other ingredients on the label to make sure you understand what else is included in each supplement.
Some supplements use additional ingredients like vitamin D and phosphorus to increase absorption, while other supplements include added herbs and extracts with purported benefits. It’s important to recognize that not all scientific studies support these claims, so be sure to discuss such formulations with your doctor before use.
In addition to calcium carbonate and calcium citrate which are both found in tablets and capsules, other forms of Calcium can be found in many supplements including:
- Calcium gluconate
- Calcium lactate
- Calcium orotate
- Calcium phosphate
- Glucono delta lactone
Risks of Calcium Deficiency
Calcium plays an important role in ensuring strong and healthy bones, as well as teeth. Without adequate calcium in the body, bones become weak and prone to fractures. Calcium deficiency can even lead to a weakened immune system and increase the risk of osteoporosis.
In this section, we will discuss the risks of calcium deficiency and how it can lead to serious health problems.
Osteoporosis is a condition characterized by brittle and fragile bones due to low calcium levels. As calcium is crucial for maintaining healthy bones, its deficiency can lead to a decrease in bone mineral density, making them susceptible to fractures and other orthopedic issues. Without sufficient amounts of calcium in the body, it is more vulnerable to fractures and decreased mobility due to weakened joints and muscles.
Calcium is important for the maintenance of strong bones, teeth, and joints; hence those with osteoporosis are at increased risk of developing lower back pain or loss of balance or flexibility.
In addition to osteoporosis, calcium deficiency can also result in muscle cramps due to abnormal electrolyte regulation caused by low calcium levels in the blood; this can lead to involuntary twitching of muscles or heightened fatigue while doing physical activities. Another potential consequence of prolonged inadequate intake or absorption of calcium is stunted growth or weak teeth.
Calcium also works together with vitamin D in helping with nerves that send signals throughout the body for normal bodily functions such as regulating heart rhythm, aiding digestion, and coordination among others. Thus an insufficient amount of both may cause various neurological symptoms such as tingling sensations in the extremities and difficulty walking or maintaining balance.
Fractures are one of the most common and most serious risks related to a lack of calcium in the diet. Although any bone can be affected by inadequate amounts of calcium, your spine, hips and wrists are most at risk for fractures.
Calcium acts as a structural compound within bones, providing them with strength and integrity. Insufficient amounts lead to weak bones that easily break under pressure. Falls are the leading cause of fractures among adults over age 65, but inadequate calcium makes even mild activity hazardous for people of all ages.
Without regular doses of calcium to replace what is used to keep bones strong and healthy, fractures become more likely. Internal organs may also be affected if fractures pierce through bone walls due to weakened minerals in these areas. Calcium supplementation may prevent sudden or severe fractures in those at risk for them, but once a fracture has occurred, medical attention should be sought immediately for repair and rehabilitation purposes.
Calcium is essential for building strong bones and helping to maintain bone density throughout your life. Some research suggests that calcium can help build stronger, denser bones early in life, and reduce the risk of osteoporosis later in life.
While diet is the best source of calcium for bone health, dietary supplements may be necessary for those not obtaining sufficient amounts from their daily foods. Exercise, both aerobic and resistance training, have also been shown to help strengthen bones and improve bone health. Lastly, vitamin D is a key player in helping your body absorb and use adequate levels of calcium—so it’s important to get enough of both nutrients every day.