Sunday, 8 August 2010

The Importance of Calcium

I've been thinking about my mum's serious osteoperosis a lot lately and wondering if this is a herititary disease.  I was recently at the pharmacy  looking for a good quality calcium supplement to take so that I don't have the same crumbling spine when I'm in my mid 60s.

The main causes of osteoperosis are :
  • being underweight
  • poor nutrition
  • excessing drinking
  • smoking
  • lack of exercise
  • low estrogen levels

Calcium is a major mineral found in our body. It constitutes 1.5 - 2 per cent of the body weight of an adult person. Our body contains almost 1,200 gm of calcium, of which 98 per cent is found in bones, and about 10 mg/dl is found in blood.

Sources

Calcium is available through many resources. The best natural sources are: milk, milk products (cheese, curd, skimmed milk, butter milk), egg yolk and fish.  The cheapest dietary sources are green leafy vegetables, but calcium is in insoluble form so it can not be absorbed properly.
Calcium is also found in drinking water and in some fruits.

Absorption

Normally, about 20-30 per cent of dietary calcium is absorbed, which is regulated to some extent by our body needs.

Requirements

For adults, daily intake of around 1,000 mg is required. In children, this intake is higher.

Functions

Calcium in our plasma performs many functions, such as:
  • Formation of bones and teeth
  • Coagulation of blood
  • Contraction of muscles
  • Milk production
  • Cardiac action
  • Keeping cell membranes intact
  • Transformation of light to electrical impulses in retina
  • In metabolism of enzymes and hormones.

Deficiency

If calcium is taken in low quantities or if it does not meet the body requirements, rickets and Osteomalacia can arise. In Rickets, the bones are bent at the ankles.

Calcium deficiency in young girls can cause abnormal formation of bones, which can lead to problems during pregnancy and delivering babies. 

After 50 years of age, calcium deficiency can lead to decrease in the bone density, and this can lead to easy fractures. So, a glass of milk a day keeps your bones and teeth strong. I think drinking milk regularly is worth the trouble. 

If you are taking a supplement to get your daily calcium make sure you are also taking magnesium with it.  Do not exceed 2000mg of Calcium per day - it could cause kidney stones.

7 comments:

Mo said...

yikes too scary

steveroni said...

Now THIS is the post I've been waiting for!!!--grin
S

G-Man said...

Dr. Jillie Bean?
Why does my pulse rate go up whenever visit YOU?

Susan Erickson said...

My local health food store advised me to add kelp and other seaweed to my diet for the best, most easily absorbed, calcium..... not easy to do...but I do keep powdered kelp around and use it like a salt substitute.

Matty said...

Good nutritional article. I get plenty of calcium.

Lauren M said...

Have you seen this new study that links calcium supplements (taken without Vit. D supplements) to heart attacks?
http://abcnews.go.com/Health/HeartHealth/calcium-supplements-carry-heart-attack-risk/story?id=11282357

It seems from this and other articles that Vit. D is extremely important and most people have low levels.
Exercise is also necessary:

http://www.vegsource.com/news/2010/04/exercise-can-forestall-osteoporosis.html

As an opposing opinion, dairy may actually strip bones of calcium and cause osteoporosis:
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/206725/how_dairy_actually_causes_osteoporosis.html?cat=5

I find the former information interesting as dairy does bad things to my digestion and it seems no one in my family can tolerate it, or at least only very small amounts occasionally.

I'm sorry your mom is having so much pain. I hope she finds relief.

cat said...

As you said in reply to my post re supplements - rather than not!

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