Calcium is an extremely important mineral for optimal health. It is the most abundant mineral in the human body making up a large part of the bone structure.
We all know that having a good source of calcium in your diet is necessary for healthy bones and strong teeth but it is also important for many other essential bodily functions. Approximately 1% of the calcium in the body is needed for other processes and excess calcium is stored in the teeth and bones when it is not required. If there is ever a shortage of calcium in the diet then the body will draw what it needs from these stores.
These processes include energy-yielding metabolism, correct muscle function and neurotransmission. Calcium also contributes to the normal function of digestive enzymes, normal blood clotting and has a role in the process of cell division and specialisation.
Calcium is especially important for children and the elderly. Dietary calcium is required for the correct development and growth of bone in children while reducing the risk of osteoporotic bone fractures in the elderly.
This tight regulation and flow of calcium to and from the bones and teeth means that calcium deficiency or hypocalcemia can go unnoticed for a long time.
Symptoms of calcium deficiency can include tiredness, a loss of appetite, numbness and tingling sensations in the fingers and toes, muscle cramps and an abnormal heart rhythm. If left untreated (ie through the taking of appropriate amounts of calcium in the diet) the body will draw the calcium it needs from the bones, leading to fragile and brittle bone structure and eventually osteoporosis.
Calcium: Recommended Daily Allowance*:
|*All measurements expressed in mg.|