Calcium's Crucial Role in Overall Health

Calcium's Crucial Role in Overall Health

March 01, 2024

Did you know that 99% of the body's calcium can be found in the skeleton? Calcium is an essential mineral for the formation and maintenance of strong and healthy bones and teeth. The remaining 1%, known as serum calcium, is present in bodily fluids such as blood and lymph. Even though the amount of serum calcium is relatively small, it is equally significant for supporting vital functions in the body.

How the Body Uses Calcium

Let's look at some of the many ways the body uses calcium:

Bone and Dental Health

Adequate calcium is vital for bone development and maintenance. It helps prevent osteoporosis, which causes weakened and brittle bones as we age. Calcium is crucial for strong teeth, helps prevent decay, and supports oral health.

Muscle and Nerve Function

Calcium is involved in nerve signaling to the muscles. It also helps transmit nerve signals for movement, sensation, and cognition.

Blood Clotting

Calcium is essential for forming blood clots, preventing excessive bleeding when someone gets injured.

Blood Pressure

Calcium is involved in the contraction and relaxation of blood vessels, supporting good cardiovascular health.

Cell Signaling

Calcium is part of many signaling pathways important to gene expression, cell division, and hormone secretion.

Disease Prevention

Studies have shown that calcium and vitamin D may help protect against cancer, diabetes, hypertension, and other conditions.

Optimal Calcium Intake

Consuming optimal amounts of calcium is extremely important to health. However, getting too much calcium can have the opposite effect. Excessive calcium intake can cause hypercalcemia, which can cause weakened bones and kidney stones and interfere with heart and brain function.

Some individuals can be particularly susceptible to calcium deficiency. These include those who follow a vegan diet, undergo long-term steroid treatment, or have certain bowel and digestive disorders that decrease the ability to absorb calcium. If you consume too much protein or sodium, you could also be at risk due to increased calcium excretion.

Food Sources of Calcium

A variety of foods are good sources of calcium:

  • Dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese
  • Dark leafy greens like kale and also broccoli
  • Fish with edible soft bones like salmon and sardines
  • Calcium-fortified foods like soy products and fruit juices
  • Nuts, in particular almonds

Calcium Supplements

If you are at risk for calcium deficiency, it's best to test levels and see if supplementation is warranted. When considering a supplement, you want to choose one you tolerate, is not excessive in amount per capsule, pill, or chewable for better absorption, is a good quality supplement, and whether you are taking prescription medications that may interfere with absorption or interact.

Contact FitLife today to learn about testing for calcium levels, how to make dietary changes to improve calcium intake, and whether you would be a good candidate for supplementation.

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Diet and Nutrients , Blog