By My Family Plate at December 19, 2010 | 3:14 pm |
10 Things You Should Know About Calcium
by Anna Woodard
- Calcium is an important component of a healthy diet and a mineral needed for life. Approximately 99% of the body’s calcium is stored in the bones and teeth. Recommended daily calcium intake for adults ranges from 1000 to 1500 mg/day. Each day, you lose calcium through your skin, nails, hair, sweat, urine and feces. Our bodies cannot produce calcium. It is important to try to get enough calcium through the foods we eat. Our body will take calcium from our bones when we do not consume enough.
- Dairy products, such as milk and cheese, are a well known source of calcium. For individuals who are allergic to dairy, or lactose-intolerant, leaving them unable to consume large quantities of dairy, have many other good sources of calcium to choose from. These include almonds, sesame seeds, beans, oranges, figs, collard greens, broccoli, orange juice and soy milk. The calcium content of most foods can be found in the USDA National Nutrient Database.
- Calcium supplements are available without a prescription in a wide range of preparations and strengths. Calcium carbonate is the most common and least expensive calcium supplement. It should be taken with food. It depends on the low pH levels for proper absorption in the intestine. For some people, calcium supplements may cause side effects such as gas or constipation.
- Calcium is needed for our heart, muscles, and nerves to function properly and for blood to clot. Inadequate calcium significantly contributes to the development of osteoporosis. Many studies show that how low calcium intake throughout life is associated with low bone mass and high fracture rates.
- Abnormally high blood calcium levels is called hypercalcemia. It can be caused by chronic kidney disease, an overdose of vitamin D, or calcium. Symptoms of high calcium levels may include sleeplessness, itching, headache, dehydration, confusion, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, weight loss, constipation, akinesis, and foot gangrene. In long term, it may lead to vascular calcification.
- Hypocalcaemia is a condition of low blood calcium. It may be resulted in low parathyroid hormone levels, kidney failure, acute pancreatitis, or vitamin D deficiency. As calcium deficiency becomes more severe, symptoms such as abnormal heart rhythms, muscle cramps, muscle twitching, or seizures, burning pricking, tickling, or tingling sensation of the hands, feet, lips, and tongue occur.
- Long- term calcium deficiency can lead to rickets and poor blood clotting. Rickets, a disease caused by vitamin D 3 deficiencies, results in the bending of abnormally weak and flexible bones under the weight of the body, plus other structural changes.
- Vitamin D is needed to absorb calcium. Proper vitamin D is important because it is converted to a hormone in the body which then includes the synthesis of intestinal proteins responsible for calcium absorption. However, calcium and vitamin D do not need to be taken together to be absorbed by the body.
- Arm & Hammer care toothpaste contains liquid calcium to restore enamel luster.
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