Calcium is a vital macro element in the presence of which more than 300 biochemical reactions take place in the human body.
The mineral plays a primary role in building and strengthening bone tissue, participates in blood coagulation processes, normalization of myocardial contractility, skeletal muscles, restoring the balance between stimulation reactions, inhibition in the brain, regulation of the activity of certain enzymes.
The compound was named after the word “Calx”, which means “Lime” in Latin.
The total concentration of calcium in the human body is 2 percent of body weight (1,000-1,500 grams), with the majority (99%) found in bone tissue, nails, enamel, and dentin of the teeth.
The value of the macro: regulates the pressure of blood, tissue and intercellular fluids (together with sodium, magnesium and potassium); participates in the formation of bone tissue, including teeth and cartilage; supports normal blood clotting due to the potentiation of the transition of prothrombin to thrombin; enhances the permeability of membranes for the penetration of hormones, nutrients; potentiates the production of cellular and humoral immunity, as a result of which the body’s resistance to infections is improved; supports skeletal muscle tone; neutralizes the negative effects of lactic and uric acid, which accumulate in the muscles due to the breakdown of fats and proteins (during exercise); participates in the mechanisms of transmission of nerve impulses to the brain; normalizes the synthesis of proteins and nucleic acids in smooth muscle; seals the walls of blood vessels, which leads to a decrease in the release of histamine compounds; stabilizes the acid-alkaline balance in the body; activates the action of enzymes involved in the formation of neurotransmitters.
The normal concentration of calcium in the blood is 2.2 millimoles per liter. Deviations from this indicator indicate a deficiency or excess of the compound in the body. Consider symptoms that indicate the development of hypo or hypercalcemia.
A lack of calcium and overdose
Calcium is stored in the porous structure of long tubular bones. In case of insufficient intake of the mineral with food, the body “goes” to mobilize the compound from the bone tissue, as a result of which the bones of the pelvis, spine, and lower extremities are demineralized.
Signs of calcium deficiency:
- pains in joints, bones, teeth;
- muscle weakness;
- brittle nails;
- increased blood cholesterol levels;
- skin rashes, including eczema;
- rapid pulse;
- muscle spasms;
- numbness of the limbs;
- the appearance of microcracks on the enamel of the teeth;
- pallor of face;
- mental decline;
- lack of coordination;
- growth retardation, rickets (in children);
- spinal deformity, frequent bone fractures;
- tooth decay;
- allergic reactions;
- reduced blood clotting;
- copious menstrual flow.
In 80% of cases, hypocalcemia is asymptomatic, which leads to the development of serious pathologies: osteoporosis, kidney stone formation, hypertension, osteochondrosis. For the prevention of these problems, it is important to identify and eliminate the factors that trigger the lack of a macroelement in the body.
Causes of calcium deficiency:
- lack of food in the diet containing a useful compound;
- violation of the absorption of the element in the intestine, due to dysbacteriosis or lack of the lactase enzyme that breaks down milk protein;
- excess in the body of lead, zinc, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, sodium;
- chronic diseases of the digestive tract (pancreatitis, diabetes mellitus, renal failure, gastric or duodenal ulcer);
- diseases of the thyroid gland, in which the synthesis of the hormone thyrocalcitonin, which controls calcium metabolism, is impaired;
- increased consumption of “osteogenic” nutrient due to stressful situations, smoking, physical exertion, pregnancy, breastfeeding;
- excessive consumption of drinks that inhibit the absorption of the mineral in the intestines (coffee, alcohol, soda, energy tonic);
- deficiency in the dietary intake of vitamin D, especially when observing vegetarianism, raw foods;
- long-term use of laxatives and diuretics, which “flush out” the building mineral from the body.
In addition, calcium metabolism is impaired due to excessive elimination of the compound with urine (idiopathic hypercalciuria), low absorption of the substance in the intestine (intestinal malabsorption), formation of kidney stones (calcium nephrolithiasis), parathyroid hyperfunction, hypertension.
To eliminate the symptoms of hypocalcemia, it is necessary to enrich the daily diet with calcium-containing products or complex supplements, the main active component of which is the missing macronutrient. When using medications, first consult with your doctor.
In the process of drawing up a diet, keep in mind that daily consumption of more than 2500 milligrams of mineral against the background of calcium metabolism disorders leads to intense calcification of bones, vessels, and internal organs, as a result of which persistent hypercalcemia develops.
Symptoms of excess calcium in the body:
- loss of appetite;
- frequent urination;
- reduced muscle tone;
- epigastric discomfort;
- increased urinary and blood calcium concentrations;
- angina and bradycardia;
- cognitive decline;
- the formation of kidney stones and bladder;
In some cases, hypercalcemia occurs as a result of hereditary pathologies of the thyroid gland, in particular, multiple endocrine neoplasias, and sometimes due to malignant neoplasms.
The daily need for calcium is directly dependent on the age and gender of the person. Moreover, the largest number of macronutrients required by the growing body, pregnant and lactating women.
The daily rate of calcium is:
- for newborns up to 6 months – 400 milligrams;
- for children of preschool age (1 – 5 years) – 600 milligrams;
- for school children under 10 years old – 800 milligrams;
- for children from 10 to 13 years old – 1000 milligrams;
- for teenagers and young people up to 24 years old – 1300 – 1500 milligrams;
- for women (from 25 to 55 years) and men (from 25 to 65 years) – 1000 milligrams;
- for women during menopause (from 55 – 85 years) and elderly men (from 65 -85 years) – 1300 – 1500 milligrams;
- for pregnant and lactating women – 1500 to 2000 milligrams.
The need for calcium increases with:
- intense sports activities;
- excessive sweating;
- taking anabolic steroids;
- hormone therapy.
Remember, it is important to monitor daily the amount of calcium consumed since a lack of minerals is fraught with osteoporosis of bones, and the excess – stone formation in the kidneys and bladder.
Given that calcium is involved in the formation of bone, connective and nervous tissue, it is important to ensure regular intake of the macro with food.
Product Name Calcium content per 100 grams of product, milligrams
Parmesan cheese 1300
Hard cheeses 800 – 1200
Sesame (unroasted) 700 – 900
Nettle (greens) 700
White cheese 530 – 600
Forest Mallow 500
Basil (greens) 370
Sunflower seeds 350
Almond (unroasted) 260
Sea fish 210 – 250
Parsley (greens) 240
White cabbage 210
Haricot beans 160 – 190
Garlic, Cress – Salt 180
Dill (greens) 120
Milk, kefir, cottage
cheese, whey, sour
cream, yogurt 90 – 120
oysters crabs 80 – 100
Egg (1 piece) 55
Calcium is found in small amounts in cereals, fruits, vegetables, berries, meat, and honey. The content of an element in these products varies from 5 to 50 milligrams per 100 grams.
What influences calcium calculation?
Calcium is a poorly digestible macroelement since its absorption requires the presence of the following substances in the body: magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, manganese, silicon, chromium, vitamins D, K, and C. Moreover, an excessive amount of the first two compounds prevents its full splitting.
The optimal ratio of calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus in food or bio-additives is 2: 1: 1. Considering that the mineral “changes” into a bioavailable form only under the action of gastric juice, its intake and alkaline substances neutralizing hydrochloric acid, including carbohydrates, lead to reducing the absorption of the element in the intestine. In this case, the joint use of compounds with rhubarb, spinach, parsley, cabbage, sorrel, radish, and currants potentiates the formation of oxalate stones in the kidneys.
Remember, calcium is well absorbed from dairy products due to the optimal ratio of nutrients and the presence of lactic acid bacteria in such products. Moreover, to increase the bioavailability of the mineral, it is permissible to use healthy fats. However, it is important to bear in mind that an excess or lack of lipids in the food ration interferes with the complete absorption of the “bone” substance, since in the first case there is a lack of bile acids for its splitting, and in the second – fatty acids.
The optimal ratio of calcium and fat per serving of food is 1: 100.
Thus, calcium is an indispensable macroelement for the human body, which is part of the bones, teeth, blood, cellular, and tissue fluids. Its best “partners” – magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamin D. In this tandem, the “bone-forming” element supports the health of the bone, cardiovascular, endocrine, and nervous systems.
Covering the daily need of the body for calcium is better at the expense of natural foods: dairy products, poppy, sesame, cheese, fish, nuts, greens. However, when consuming such food, it is important not to overdo it, since an excess of minerals in the body leads to its subsidence on the walls of blood vessels and internal organs, causing stone formation and disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, cardiovascular system.