Why do we require Calcium ? Calcium is an essential mineral for our body. It is required for building bones and keeping them healthy. It helps our blood to clot, nerves to send messages and muscles to contract properly. The deficiency of calcium can result into bad affects on our body. Our muscles can cramp, and heart muscles can even fail.
Calcium facts. What is calcium good for in the human body ?
Calcium is one of the most vital minerals for optimal functioning of our entire body. About 99 percent of the calcium in our body is concentrated in our bones and teeth. Not only as an essential element for strong bones and teeth, it is required for every cell of the body to function in a healthy way.
It also contributes to proper blood clotting. It is continually deposited into multiplying bone cells, like the cement that holds together the particles of stone and sand in a chunk of concrete.
The National Osteoporosis Foundation states, “Calcium plays an important role in building stronger, denser bones early in life and keeping bones strong and healthy later in life.”
It is said that the stronger the bone development during childhood, the healthier those bones will be in adulthood. Hence we need to have sufficient calcium for our children to lay the foundation stronger to make their body sturdier.
Since in adolescence, our children’s bones grow rapidly, so in their teenage, they must get a lot of calcium in their diet. Once they reach full growth, calcium needs stabilize. However in certain circumstances when calcium intake needs to be increased. During pregnancy, lactation and healing from injuries, calcium is required to be increased in the diets.
In old age, the bones begin to lose some of their strength which we call osteoporosis or “bones becoming fragile”. We can attribute this condition to a variety of reasons. Some hormonal deficiency or the reducing capacity of elderly intestines to absorb calcium can be amongst them.
Not only this, certain medicines required for treatment of some diseases decrease the body’s ability to absorb calcium, including antacids. Senior citizens need to be particularly conscious about the level of calcium in their diet and the medicines affecting calcium absorption. To avoid such happenings, we must care for appropriate intake of calcium for ourselves as well as for our children.
What is calcium used for in the body?
Calcium conducts many functions in the body. It forms the structures that give our bones and teeth their strength and shape. When we get older, Our body starts to loose the mineral content with our bones thinning out bit by bit and loosing its density, and becoming more brittle, more likely to break. Finally, we can reach to osteoporosis. Each year in the United States there are 1.5 million bone fractures associated with osteoporosis, and 250,000 of those breaks will involve a hip.
Do Extra Doses of Calcium Bring Out Some Negative Results? calcium supplements side effects
For years, it was thought that high calcium intake should be suitable as one of the best things to prevent osteoporosis and related fractures. But it is not exactly so. While a lifelong deficit can affect bone and tooth formation, over-retention can cause hypercalcemia (elevated levels of calcium in the blood), impaired kidney function, and decreased absorption of other minerals.
Side effects of taking calcium tablets daily. what does phosphorus do for your body.
Calcium in large amounts may interfere with absorption of phosphorus, an equally crucial element to maintaining bone strength. Phosphorus deficiency isn’t a major problem in well-fed populations, but it’s possible that extra calcium pushes some people into it, especially if their diets don’t include much protein.
Intracellular calcium overload may lead some kind of cells to oxidative stress and apoptosis, and produces several diseases. A high calcium intake has been associated with a lower risk for kidney stones. We should take appropriate quantity of calcium with addition of vitamin D to work more constructively in our body, under medical advice.
How does it contribute to our body? what is calcium used for in the body?
Our body has got a well designed mechanism for keeping the concentration of calcium in the blood and tissues appropriately. If calcium concentration falls too low or get too high, certain organs may likely to fail to function properly. If we take too much calcium or already have enough calcium in our blood, the intestines simply absorb less of the calcium in the food we take in our meals. If our body needs calcium, the intestines will absorb more.
Similarly, if we don’t get enough calcium in our diet, our body will borrow from our bones. This works for a time, yet continued withdrawals of calcium from the bone bank can lead to osteoporosis. A hormone called parathyroid oversees all this calcium activity like a vigilant bank manager, keeping appropriate concentration of calcium.
When calcium levels fall, this hormone stimulates vitamin D to increase absorption of calcium from the intestines and to release calcium from the bone bank until a proper balance is restored.
What should be the quantity of calcium intake at different stages of life?
Calcium supplementation and the recommended daily dosages.
Our body needs continuous supply of calcium. Its quantity varies with the requirement of body at different stages in our life. It can increase or decrease. It is estimated that we do have the daily requirements at various stages in our life:
- Pregnancy: 1,500-2,000 mg. a day
- Lactation: 1,200-1,500 mg. a day
- Infants (birth to one year): 400 to 600 mg.
- Children (1 to 10): 800 mg.
- Preteens and teens: 1,200-1,500 mg.
- Adults: 1,200 mg.
- Seniors: 1,500 mg. a day
How do we get Calcium? Calcium foods.
Dairy products, such as milk and cheese, are a well-known source of calcium. Milk is an excellent source of dietary calcium for those whose bodies tolerate it because it has a high concentration of calcium and the calcium in milk is excellently absorbed.
If we go through the properties of dairy products, we find that Yogurt nonfat, plain (1 cup) can provide us 450 mg of calcium whereas Yogurt lowfat, plain (1 cup) has 400 mg. Yogurt, nonfat, fruit (1 cup) has 300 mg and With Parmesan cheese (1 ounce), we can get 336 mg of calcium. Milk, lowfat (1 cup) has 300 mg, Romano cheese (1 ounce) equals to 302 mg. Cheddar cheese (1 ounce) arranges 200 mg and Cottage cheese (1 cup) has 155 mg of calcium.
Some individuals are allergic to dairy products and even more people, in particular those of non Indo-European descent, are lactose-intolerant, leaving them unable to consume non-fermented dairy products in quantities larger than about half a liter per serving. Others, such as ethical and/or health vegans, voluntarily avoid dairy products. For them, soymilk and other vegetable milks are usually sold with calcium added so that their calcium concentration is as high as in milk.
Also different kinds of juices boosted with calcium are widely available.
In best non-dairy sources, we can include Sardines (3 oz) for 371 mg of calcium, Orange juice, calcium-fortified (1 cup) for 300 mg, Sesame seeds (1 ounce) for 280 mg, Tofu (3 oz) for 190 mg, Salmon (3 oz, canned) for 180 mg, Collards (1/2 cup, chopped) for 180 mg, Rhubarb (1/2 cup) for 174 mg, Blackstrap molasses (1 tbsp.) to have 172 mg. Amaranth flour (1/2 cup) provides us 150 mg of calcium whereas Spinach (1/2 cup, canned) gives us 136 mg of calcium. Five numbers of figs or one medium size Artichoke will give us 135 mg. Soybean nuts (1/4 cup) have 116 mg of calcium, Turnip greens (1/2 cup, chopped) may provide us 100 mg. Cereal, calcium-fortified (1/2 cup) has 100 to 200 mg of calcium. Kale (1/2 cup, chopped) provides us 90 mg, Almond butter (2 tbsp.) has 86 mg, Beet greens (1/2 cup, boiled) gives us 82 mg. One ounce of Almonds has 80 mg whereas Bok Choy (Chinese cabbage) (1/2 cup) can have approximately 79 mg. of calcium. Okra (1/2 cup) and Tempeh (1/2 cup) can arrange 77 mg each. Beans (1/2 cup, baked) gives 75 mg, Papaya (1 medium) provides 73 mg. One medium Orange is capable of providing us 50 mg of calcium and Broccoli (1/2 cup, chopped) has 47 mg of calcium.
Good quantity of calcium is eggshell, which can be ground into a powder and mixed into food or a glass of water and taken under medical advice.
For better quality of the calcium, we should cook foods in a small amount of water for the shortest possible time to keep more calcium in the foods we eat. (This means steaming or sautéing to cook instead of boiling foods.) We must be careful about the other foods we eat with calcium-rich foods.
Certain fibers, such as wheat bran, and foods with oxalic acid (spinach and rhubarb) can bind with calcium and prevent it from being absorbed. This is why leafy greens are not considered an adequate source of calcium by themselves, because our body is unable to utilize much of the calcium they contain.
People on a vegan diet need to be sure to also include soy products and fortified products in order to get enough calcium.
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