Calcium is an essential nutrient for optimal health of humans and other living organisms. It exists in abundance in the human body and is vital to many bodily functions and processes.
According to health experts, the recommended daily calcium requirement for humans is dependent on age and sex. Below are the amounts of calcium that people should consume on a daily basis for good health:
- 1 year old to 3 years old – 700 milligrams per day
- 4 years old to 8 years old – 1,000 milligrams per day
- 9 years old to 18 years old – 1,300 milligrams per day
- 19 years old to 50 years old – 1,000 milligrams per day
- 51 years old to 70 years old (male) – 1,000 milligrams per day
- 51 years old to 70 years old (female) – 1,200 milligrams per day
- 71 years old and older – 1,200 milligrams per day
- Pregnant or breast-feeding teenagers or adults – 1,000 milligrams per day
What foods are excellent sources of calcium?
For your daily calcium needs, you can rely on several different foods that are overflowing with this nutrient. The following are some good examples:
- Sesame seeds
Soy products, fruit juices, cereal, and other calcium-fortified foods and milk substitutes are also good sources of calcium.
What are the health benefits of calcium?
Calcium plays a key role in keeping you in good health. It is important in the:
Growth and development of bones
Did you know that about 99% of the calcium found in your body is concentrated in your bones and teeth? Calcium is an integral component in the formation and development of strong and healthy bones, especially in the early years. As a person grows older, it continues to facilitate bone health, making sure that the bones are strengthened enough and bone density reaches its peak levels, usually at ages 20 to 25. After that, bone density and bone health naturally decline with age, but calcium is still at it to keep bones healthy for as long as possible and slow down bone loss and other bone problems.
Did you know that calcium is also involved in blood clotting? Clotting is a complex process that prevents the body from bleeding excessively when a blood vessel is cut, torn, or injured. Also called coagulation, it consists of three steps — vasoconstriction, which is the constriction of the damaged blood vessels to lessen the amount of blood that flows through and to reduce the amount of blood loss; platelet plug formation, which is when the platelets are activated the moment they encounter injured cells, stopping the bleeding; and clot formation, which occurs after the platelets have created the platelet plug, helping promote wound healing. To make these steps happen, calcium has to be present in the body.
Did you know that calcium helps in the beating and pumping of your heart and the contraction of other muscles in the body? Calcium is crucial in muscle contraction. Every time a nerve signal hits a muscle, a certain amount of calcium is released to push the proteins in the muscles, triggering the contraction and movement. The muscles only return to their relaxed state once the calcium is pumped out of there.
Did you know that calcium slows down the signs of aging? Having soft, smooth, and clear skin requires a lot of hard work, care, and attention. Many spend a huge amount of money on facial wash, toner, moisturizer, sunscreen, facial creams, and even certain medical procedures to keep looking young and fresh. But, by taking more calcium through a calcium-rich diet, you can improve your skin health, promote the production of your skin’s natural oil, keep your skin hydrated, remain wrinkle and blemish-free for many years, and avoid premature aging.
Did you know that calcium can enhance your memory and brain health? Calcium acts as a messenger for signals that travel between cells. It facilitates a variety of neuronal functions, including phosphorylation, neuronal excitability, neurotransmitter synthesis, and neurotransmitter release. According to various research studies, it is also a key part of long-term brain processes, such as memory, and it is involved in slowing down symptoms of brain aging.
What happens if you do not have enough calcium in the body?
Calcium deficiency is a condition characterized by not having sufficient calcium. Also called hypocalcemia, it can cause certain health problems that usually affect the bones.
Some common early signs and symptoms of calcium deficiency are:
- Muscle cramps
- Muscle spasms and aches
- Reduced energy levels
- Extreme fatigue
- Dry skin
- Persistent skin itching
- Skin blisters or redness
- Dry, brittle, or broken fingernails and/or toenails
- Hair loss
Moreover, if a child lacks calcium, they may not grow to their full potential height, and be shorter than other kids their age. In the case of adults, a lack of calcium may lead to reduced bone mass, increasing their risk of bone injuries, osteoporosis, and other bone disorders.
How is calcium deficiency treated?
If you experience any of the calcium deficiency symptoms listed above, you should go see your doctor right away. You have to get a doctor’s prescription to take calcium supplements to boost your body’s calcium levels.
Normally, doctors recommend the following calcium supplements:
This supplement has the highest absorption rate compared to the others
This contains the most elemental calcium and the least costly among the different options
This can also be easily absorbed by the body and does not cause bowel movement issues
Again, do not attempt to self-medicate. These calcium supplements may cause negative reactions if you are taking certain medications, such as blood pressure beta-blockers, antacids that contain aluminum, estrogen medications, and diuretics. Go talk to your doctor and secure their approval.