NUTRIENTS A-Z: Calcium
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body and is vital for bone health. 99% of the body's calcium is in the bones and teeth.
Females who have already experienced menopause can lose bone density at ta higher rate than males (and younger females) and supplementation may be recommended.
Calcium helps regulate muscle contractions. When a nerve stimulates a muscle, calcium helps the proteins in muscle carry out the work of contraction. Then when the body pumps calcium out of the muscle, the muscle will relax. Calcium is a great remedy for a build-up of lactic acid in the muscle after over-exertion and is often used on cows after they have given birth.
Calcium also plays a key role in blood clotting and relaxes the smooth muscle that surrounds blood vessels and various studies indicate a possible link between high consumption of calcium and lower blood pressure.
Vitamin D is also essential for bone health, as it helps the body absorb calcium. The same is true for magnesium. Magnesium is needed to keep calcium in solution so that it can be utilized by the body. As well, calcium is a co-factor for many enzymes and without it, some key enzymes would not work efficiently.
Calcium and magnesium deficiencies are closely related; however, symptoms of a calcium deficiency can include:
- Brittle fingernails, vertically ridged nails
- Pain in forearm or bicep
- Cramps in calf muscle during sleep or exercise
- Painful cramping of feet or toes
- Joint pains
- Teeth prone to decay, frequent toothaches
- Poor quality or malformation of bones
- Nervous tics or twitches, twitching muscles
- Nervousness, irritability, anxiety
- Unusual sensitivity to noise
- Heart palpitations
Food sources of calcium include yogurt, cheese, milk, soybeans/tofu, sardines, salmon, peanuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, dried beans, green vegetables, almonds, and beef liver.
Supplementary range: 400 to 1200 mg daily
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