Nutrition Made Simple


September 10 2021



Calcium is one of the nutrients essential for almost all living organisms. Human beings need calcium for building and maintaining strong bones and teeth. It plays a major role in muscular movement as well as cardiovascular functions and also maintains healthy communication between the brain and all other parts of the body. Calcium can be found naturally in many foods and also in supplements that are chemically prepared. Foods rich in calcium include kale, broccoli, milk, dairy products, citrus fortified juices, mineral water, canned bony fish, fortified soy products, etc. 

Mechanism of action of calcium

Over 99 percent of the calcium in the human body is contained in the teeth and bones. It is also found in the blood, some muscles, and tissues. The calcium present in the bones functions as a reserve that can be released into the body as and when required. As we age, the calcium concentration in the bones tends to decrease as it is released from the body through sweating and other forms of waste production. Many aged women also experience calcium deficiency due to lower levels of estrogen in their bodies. Absorption of calcium varies on race, gender, and age of the particular person. The bones always keep on breaking and rebuilding themselves. In this process, calcium plays a vital role and is necessary for the proper functioning of the bones too. Taking supplements of calcium hence helps the bones in rebuilding and enhances their structure and strength. 

Functions of calcium in the human body

  • Promotes healthy bones: calcium is, as mentioned before, essential for the development and functioning of the bones. For instance, when a child is at a growing age, calcium helps in building up the bones, and when the bones get developed, calcium helps with the maintenance and functioning of the bones by keeping them healthy and strong. Women after menopause may lose bone density and at a rate faster than males and younger people. This puts menopausal women at a higher risk for osteoporosis, which is a condition associated with reduced bone density.
  • Cardiovascular functions: calcium has a role to play in blood clotting, which is a complex process with many steps. The role of calcium in muscular functions comprises the maintenance of the actions of heart muscles. It provides relaxation to the smooth muscles surrounding the blood vessels. Many studies have found out that a high intake of calcium is somewhat linked to lower levels of blood pressure. 
  • Muscle contraction: calcium also regulates the process of muscle contraction. When a muscle gets stimulated by a nerve, calcium is released by the body. Calcium also helps the proteins that are present in the muscles in carrying out contraction work. When the calcium is released out of the muscle, the muscle relaxes. 
  • Other functions of calcium: calcium acts as a co-factor for many functioning enzymes, without which they can’t work efficiently. Many research studies have suggested that adequate consumption of calcium can be beneficial in preventing high blood pressure during pregnancy (preeclampsia), improving the levels of cholesterol in the body, reducing the risk of certain types of non-cancerous tumors. 

Dietary sources of calcium

  • Seeds: seeds are the tiny powerhouses of nutrition and some of them are high in calcium. Poppy seeds, sesame seeds, celery, and chia seeds are the ones that contain high amounts of calcium. For example, around 9 grams of poppy seeds have 126 mg of calcium.
  • Cheese: cheese is an excellent source of calcium. The human body absorbs calcium present in dairy products more efficiently and easily as compared to the calcium sourced from plants. 
  • Yogurt: yogurt, other than being rich in calcium, also comes with the goodness of live probiotic bacteria which possess many health benefits. Low-fat yogurts are even a better option to consider when taking calcium-rich foods, i.e. around 245 grams per cup. 
  • Almonds: almonds are considered the best nuts that are rich in calcium. They also provide fiber (3 grams per 28 grams) and are also rich in proteins, manganese, vitamin E, magnesium, and healthy fats. 
  • Milk: whey protein, which is an active component found in milk provides various health benefits when consumed. Whey protein is a good source of proteins and amino acids, apart from being rich in calcium. 
  • Greens: dark green and leafy vegetables are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. Spinach, collard greens, and kale are some of the leafy greens that are considered a good source of calcium. For example, one cup of collard greens contains 266 mg of calcium.
  • Figs: dried figs are considered good sources of antioxidants and fibers. Also, they consist of calcium, more than any other dried fruits (approx 5 percent of the RDI in 28 grams of a serving).
  • Deficiency of calcium

    Low levels of calcium in the blood can eventually lead to hypocalcemia or deficiency of calcium. Many conditions are responsible for this deficiency, which includes:

    • Exposure to the element mercury.
    • High intake of caffeine and alcohol.
    • Some eating disorders.
    • Low levels of parathyroid hormone.
    • Long term usage of laxatives
    • Deficiency of vitamin D
    • Deficiency of phosphate
    • Kidney failure and pancreatitis.
    • Inflammatory bowel disease and other digestive conditions.

    If you have this deficiency, the doctor might prescribe you taking supplements of calcium or multivitamins like alvizia’s multivitamins for men and women which consist of many vitamins and minerals, including calcium. Although these supplements are safe in most cases, some people may experience digestive issues like bloating, gas, etc, which are manageable and do not have serious effects. It is also important to keep a check on the amount of intake, as; very high amounts of calcium in the blood may eventually lead to kidney problems, kidney stones, constipation, and calcification of soft tissues and blood vessels. Calcium supplements are hence, advised to be taken in the amounts as prescribed by a doctor or as labeled.

    This article is the sole opinion of the author and Alvizia Healthcare holds no responsibility for the content. *

    Tagged: Daily-Multivitamin, Softgels


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