Importance of Calcium in Body
What is Calcium?
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in your body. It is very important for:
- • Bone health
- • Teeth
- • Nerve function
- • Muscles
- • Blood clotting
If you do not get enough calcium in your diet you may be at risk for losing calcium from your bones, making them thinner and weaker. This condition is called osteoporosis.
How much Calcium do I need?
The requirement of calcium in your body depends on your age. Adults over 50 years old should get 1200 mg of calcium every day.
What are good sources of Calcium?
Dairy products are one of the best sources of calcium. Calcium may also be found in a variety of other foods, as listed in the following table. Many brands of orange juice, cereal, and bread are fortified with extra calcium
Do you need Calcium Supplement?
If you can get enough calcium in your diet, you do not need to take calcium supplements.
Some people cannot digest most dairy products because their bodies lack the enzyme needed to break down milk sugar (lactose). They must follow a lactose-free diet. There are nonprescription products to help such people digest dairy products. You can ask your health care provider, nutritionist, or pharmacist about these products.
If you do need calcium supplements, many types are available. The calcium is usually combined with carbonate, citrate, lactate, gluconate, or phosphate. The body absorbs all of these forms of calcium equally well.
What happens if one doesn’t get enough Calcium?
If you do not get enough calcium, you may have muscle cramps in your hands and feet.
You May Also Develop Osteoporosis, Which May Result In:
- • A gradual loss of height
- • Humping of the back
- • Bones that break easily
- • Serious fractures if you fall
Does anything affect the body's ability to absorb calcium?
The following can make it harder for your body to absorb calcium:
- • Too much dietary fiber
- • Phosphates (in soft drinks)
- • Some medicines
How to take care of your own?
- • If you are losing height or getting a hump in your back, see your healthcare provider
- • If you are diagnosed with osteoporosis, follow your health care provider's treatment recommendations.
- • Take calcium supplements if you are advised to do so.
- • Eat more calcium-rich food: dairy products, green leafy vegetables, citrus fruit, etc.
- • If you do not have a problem with digesting dairy products, add cheese to salads and milk to casseroles and soups. If you are trying to cut back on fat, use only nonfat milk and fat-free and reduced-fat cheese.
- • Do plenty of exercise. Walk a mile a day if you can. Your body needs exercise to help it use the calcium in your diet to strengthen of your bones.
Senior Consultant & MD
Orthopedics, Joint Replacement & Spine Surgery