Calcium is a crucial mineral required by the body. It plays an important role in cardiac contraction, blood circulation, and the production of certain hormones.
It helps maintain bone mineral density along with other vitamins and minerals, including phosphorus, magnesium, and vitamin D3. In this article, we will discuss about what the functions of the mineral in the human body.
Sources of Calcium
Calcium is found in both plant-based and animal foods. Fresh meat and fish contain good amounts of bioavailable calcium and are absorbed well in the intestine.
Milk and dairy products contain the highest amount of calcium, so consuming them regularly prevents deficiencies. Vegan and vegetarian calcium-rich foods include:
- sunflower seeds
- chia seeds
- coffee beans
- pumpkin seeds
- cocoa or cacao
Let’s now have a look about the recommended daily intake of calcium and what calcium does for the body.
Recommended Daily Intake of Calcium
Calcium leads to improved bones. (Image via Unsplash/Nino Liverani)
The recommended dose of calcium for different age groups and genders is decided by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.
The World Health Organization has also published recommended intakes of calcium. It recommends 500 mg of calcium a day. The Institute of Medicine has kept the minimum daily calcium requirement at 1,000 milligrams (mg) a day for women aged 50 and younger and 1,200 mg for women over 50.
For adult men, it’s kept at 1000 mg per day. Read on to learn about what calcium does in the body.
Function of Calcium in the Body
Calcium is an essential mineral required for several functions, including heart and muscle contraction. Deficiency in the mineral can be detrimental to the body. Find out what does calcium do for the body:
Osteoporosis is a bone-related degenerative condition characterized by decreased bone density and porous bones. It’s quite common in middle-aged women and older men.
The deficiency of vitamin D (cholecalciferol) and vitamin K can also lead to osteoporosis. The intake of an adequate amount of calcium is essential in the prevention of this degenerative condition.
The absorption of calcium is regulated by vitamin D (also known as cholecalciferol). While purchasing calcium vitamins, look for ones that contain vitamin D too.
Fatigue can occur due to a deficiency of calcium, magnesium, and sodium. Calcium deficiency is one of the most common reasons behind chronic weakness and fatigue.
The lack of essential minerals in the muscles prevents them from contracting, leading to fatigue and cramps. People experiencing chronic fatigue are often prescribed calcium vitamins regularly.
Boosts heart health
What does calcium do for the body? It can improve heart health (Image via Unsplash/Jesse Orrico)
Calcium is the most important mineral required for the contraction of cardiac muscles. Deficiency in calcium can cause an irregular heartbeat or reduction in heart rate.
These are the most important roles calcium plays. People with the aforementioned conditions are often supplemented with calcium vitamins for improved heart health.
What Does Calcium Do for the Body? Side Effects
Dangerously high levels of calcium in muscle cells can cause muscle cramps, especially while working out.
Cramps are also related to the levels of magnesium in the body. Low levels of magnesium cause calcium level to rise due to an imbalance in electrolyte levels. Remember to take calcium vitamins as prescribed by your nutritionist, and do not take more than the safe levels.
While purchasing calcium vitamins, look for ones that contain vitamins and minerals as per DV or RDA values. Read the information label carefully while searching for the right calcium supplement for yourself.
What Does Calcium Do for the Body? Supplementation
Although there’re several calcium vitamins available in supplement stores and pharmacies, they aren’t the same with regard to bioavailability.
Try buying calcium citrate malate tablets/capsules that contain added vitamin D, magnesium, and zinc. Calcium pyruvate is another supplement recommended for weight loss. Consult your health professional before taking any calcium vitamins, though.
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