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Calcium is a nutrient needed by all living organisms, including humans. It is the most abundant mineral in the body and is vital for bone health.

Humans need calcium to build and maintain strong bones, and 99% of the calcium in the body is found in bones and teeth. It is also necessary for maintaining healthy communication between the brain and other parts of the body. It plays a role in muscle movement and cardiovascular function.

Calcium occurs naturally in many foods, and food manufacturers add it to certain products. Supplements are also available.

Besides calcium, people also need vitamin D as this vitamin helps the body absorb calcium . It comes from vitamin D, fish oil , fortified dairy products, and sunlight exposure.

This article examines why the body needs calcium, which foods are rich in calcium, what happens if the body doesn’t have enough, and the pros and cons of taking supplements.

Why Do We Need Calcium?

Calcium plays a variety of roles in the body. These include:

Bone health

Approximately 99% of the calcium in the human body is found in bones and teeth. Calcium is essential for the development, growth and maintenance of bone.

As children grow up, calcium contributes to the development of their bones. After a person stops growing, calcium continues to help protect bones and slow the loss of bone density, which is a natural part of the aging process.

Already ma n opoz women who have experienced, or at a higher rate than men from teens can lose bone density. There is a higher risk of developing osteoporosis, and a doctor may recommend calcium supplements.

Muscle contraction

Calcium helps regulate muscle contraction. The body releases calcium when it stimulates a nerve muscle. Calcium helps the proteins in the muscle do the contraction job.

When the body pumps calcium out of the muscle, the muscle relaxes.

Cardiovascular system

Calcium plays an important role in blood clotting. The coagulation process is complex and has several steps. These contain a number of chemicals, including calcium.

Calcium’s role in muscle function includes maintaining the movement of the heart muscle . Calcium relaxes the smooth muscle that surrounds blood vessels. Several studies have shown a possible link between high calcium consumption and low blood pressure .

Other Roles

Calcium is a co-factor for many enzymes. Without calcium, some important enzymes cannot work efficiently.

Studies have also suggested that consuming enough calcium can cause:

  • Lower risk of developing conditions involving high blood pressure during pregnancy
  • Low blood pressure in young people
  • Low blood pressure in mothers who consume enough calcium during pregnancy
  • Improved cholesterol values
  • A lower risk of colorectal adenoma, a type of noncancerous tumor

Calcium-rich foods

People can get calcium from a variety of foods and beverages.

The following are good resources:

  • Yoghurt
  • Milk
  • Fortified dairy alternatives such as soy milk
  • Sardines and salmon
  • Cheese
  • Bean curd
  • Leafy greens, such as broccoli, turnip leaves, watercress, and kale
  • Many fortified breakfast cereals
  • Fortified juices
  • Nuts and seeds, especially almonds, sesame seeds, and chia
  • Legumes and grains
  • Cornmeal and cornbread

Some dark green vegetables, such as spinach, contain calcium. However, they also contain high levels of oxalic acid. Studies show that oxalic acid reduces the body’s ability to absorb calcium.

How Much Do I Need

According to the Dietary Supplements Agency (ODS), people need the following amounts of calcium:

  • 0-6 is: 200 milligrams (mg)
  • 7-12 is: 260 mg
  • 1-3 years: 700 mg
  • 4-8 years: 1,000 mg
  • 9-18 years: 1,300 mg
  • 19–50 years: 1,000 mg
  • 51-70 years: 1,000 mg for men and 1,200 mg for women
  • 71 years and older: 1,200 mg
  • Pregnant and lactating women need 1,000-1,300 mg depending on age.

A doctor may recommend supplemental calcium for:

  • Started menopause
  • Stop menstruation due to anorexia nervosa or excessive exercise
  • Have lactose intolerance or cow’s milk allergy
  • Follow a vegan diet
  • Calcium deficiency

The following conditions or lifestyle habits can cause low calcium levels, also known as hypokalemia:

  • Bulimia, anorexia and some other eating disorders.
  • Mercury exposure
  • Excessive consumption of magnesium
  • Long-term use of laxatives
  • Long-term use of certain medications, such as chemotherapy or corticosteroids
    chelation therapy used for metal exposure
  • Parathyroid hormone deficiency
  • People who consume too much protein or sodium can secrete calcium.
    some cancers
  • High consumption of caffeine, soda, or alcohol
  • Certain conditions, such as celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, and certain other digestive diseases
  • Certain surgical procedures, including removing the stomach
  • Kidney failure
  • Pankreatit
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Phosphate deficiency
  • The body removes some calcium in sweat, urine, and feces. Foods and activities that promote these functions can reduce calcium levels in the body.
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