Calcium is mineral and one of the compound that is important for our body. Calcium is commonly known to be good for bones but it is not the only function of calcium. It is very essential and the calcium deficiency could lead to life-threatening condition. Since it is essential, human body needs calcium even when they are still inside the womb and even more when they are in old age.
In old age, calcium become more crucially needed because of the degeneration of cells is more frequent compared to the regeneration of cells. However, too much calcium in human body could be dangerous as well. Below is the list of calcium’s benefits. It is important to know about the benefits of calcium first before we jump to why calcium could be dangerous as well if the level is too low or too high in our body.
Calcium for Bones
Health benefits of calcium for bones is most popular in earth, it is already widely known that calcium is good for bones. In almost calcium supplement advertisement, this point always comes first. Now, you will know why.
- Calcium for Stronger Bones
One of calcium’s main functions is maintaining the bone health to keep it strong. However, the optimum absorption of calcium could assist in increase the bone’s mass as well. When it comes to the development of bones in the fetal, calcium has important role in building it. After the baby is born, calcium has prominent role in the growth and the bone development from baby, toddler, adolescence and it keeps going until reaching the peak age around 20.
You must have noticed, once you have reached 20, you just simply stopped growing. It is due to the absorption of calcium will be decreased when you reach that age. That’s why very important to consume adequate amount of calcium during absorption timeline for optimal growth, so you will have adequate amount of calcium intake during your old age.
- Calcium for Prevent Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a condition when the degeneration of bone cells is much more rapid compared to the regeneration of the bone cells. It is commonly happened in old age when the absorption of calcium is no longer function optimally. As mentioned in the previous point, making sure that you are consuming enough calcium during your golden age is important to make sure that your body has enough stock during your old days. In other words, there is no point of you to consume a lot of calcium during your old age because your body is no longer absorbing it optimally.
- Calcium for Healthy Dental Organ
Teeth and gum are part of dental organ which also need calcium to keep them healthy. The function of calcium here to make sure that your dental organ like jaws bones will remain strong for the rest of your life. Calcium is importantly required in the development of teeth in infant, making sure the amount of calcium is fulfilled will make your children grow with strong teeth naturally.
This is basic knowledge that every parents should realize. How about bacteria that could affect the teeth? Well it is in the matter of how you treating the teeth but at least strong teeth have stronger defense against bacteria and other substances that could cause tooth decay.
Calcium for Weight Loss
For those who are currently in a certain weight loss program, surely you want to know the fact that calcium could affect the production of fat in your body.
- Calcium Prevent Weight Gain
It is everyone’s secret that weight gain is caused by excess amount of fat in your body. There are a lot of reasons why the excess fat in your body cannot be burnt; one of the reasons is when you suffer calcium deficiency. So, yes, you need calcium to prevent you from gaining weight.
There is a hormone called parathyroid. This hormone is released by the body as balance mechanism when your body detect low intake of calcium. However, this good old parathyroid is not without side effect because while it is helping your body dealing with the calcium deficiency, it also tends to stimulate more production of fat in your body and prevent it from being broken down.
- Calcium Keep You in Shape
Previous point has explained to you that enough calcium intakes in your body will keep you from gaining weight you’ve never planned to but there is one more perks you should know. Calcium also keeps you in shape. Stronger bones are nothing if your body is not proportionally in shape. Enough calcium in your body will make sure that thing.
Calcium for Women
Calcium is essential for everyone, women and men. However, in some cases, women will need more calcium than men, especially during pregnancy.
- Calcium during Pregnancy
Same with health benefits of sodium, During pregnancy calcium is very essential for the fetal but it is also essential for the mother. Why? Well, generally the development of fetal required calcium and due to unhealthy diet the mother cannot provide enough calcium for the fetal; the effect is calcium stocked in the bones of the mother will be drawn. So, to keep the mother’s healthy calcium is importantly required during and after pregnancy.
- Calcium for Fetal
As mentioned above calcium is essential for the development of fetal. Calcium is essentially required to build bones, teeth, nerve system, heart development and blood clotting ability. In other words, without which the development of the fetal will be disturbed and the risk of the baby born with some birth defect conditions is higher.
That’s why every pregnant mother should aware about it and should take their diet seriously during pregnancy since during pregnancy the mother is the only source for all nutrients required for the fetal development.
- Calcium for Premenstrual Depression
When it comes to PMS syndrome, only women would understand it, with all the mood swing, dizziness, stress even hypertension. Actually, those are hormonal reaction and calcium has prominent role in affecting the hormone reaction. If a woman is suffering calcium deficiency, hormones which are regulating the calcium will react negatively with estrogen and progesterone. That negative interaction will cause the symptoms commonly suffered by women during PMS.
Calcium for Heart
Basically, all minerals are good for heart and calcium is not the exception. Below is the function of calcium in maintaining the heart health.
- Calcium Protect Your Heart Muscle
Calcium protects your heart muscle. That’s one of the reasons why calcium is essential for your heart health. The condition of your hearth muscle is one of the indicators whether your heart is good condition or not and calcium has important role in making sure your heart muscle will contract properly and relax.
- Calcium for Your Arteries
During pregnancy, calcium has prominent role in developing and building the nerve system and even after you were born, calcium still has similar role to maintain your nerve system, so it will function properly by making sure your arteries will not received too much pressure so they should work harder.
- Calcium Control Blood Pressure
It is closely related to the point number two that calcium will make sure that your arteries will receive pressure properly. However, how about when the calcium drop and not enough to support whatever activities required in your heart organ? If the calcium drops a certain hormone called calcitrol will be released. This hormone will interact with the heart muscle and nervous system negatively that could cause the raise of blood pressure.
Calcium to Fight Diseases
Below is the list that calcium also has prominent role in reducing the risk of chronic diseases like cancer and kidney stones.
- Calcium to Combat Cancer
Recent studies have found that unabsorbed calcium inside the intestine system has prominent role in binding unnecessary compounds that could cause cancer and exerting them outside the body to reduce the risk of colon cancer. Furthermore, calcium also provides one more layer of protection to ovarian and breast to reduce the risk of ovarian and breast cancer. However, high dosage of calcium in the body may give the opposite effect to the prostate.
- Calcium to Prevent Kidney Stones
What people commonly believe is calcium could cause the development of kidney stones. Well, it is true that kidney stones are formulated from minerals and one of which is calcium. However, high intake of calcium in the body is not the direct cause of the development of kidney stones and the recent studies found the effect is rather the opposite; enough calcium intakes could decrease the risk of kidney stones.
- Calcium to Maintain Healthy PH Level
PH level in your body could cause certain medical conditions if it is not under controlled, especially for those who have unhealthy diet management. Junk foods, processed foods that are required high content of sugars and preservation contents could disturb the PH level in your body. However, if you are consuming enough calcium, this substance will assist in balancing the PH level in your body.
- Calcium for the Movement of Nutrients
What is the point if you are consuming healthy food but the system in your body cannot absorb them optimally? Well, in some cases, those conditions could lead to some serious medical condition because the unabsorbed nutrients in your body will remain in your intestine or in your blood stream.
To optimize the movement of nutrients in your body you need calcium. However, one thing to note, calcium also could interact negatively with others mineral like iron, but you don’t need to worry, vitamin C will assist in optimizing the absorption of iron while mineral minds its own job.
Calcium has important roles such as in making sure that our bone structures are strong, our blood regulation is under controlled as well as optimizing the movement of nutrients in the body. However, calcium will function properly if it is available in ‘safe’ level, so what happen to your body if the calcium level in your body is too low or too high?
Calcium Deficiency (Hypocalcemia)
A whole series of problems could occur if a person is suffering the calcium deficiency which is also well known as hypocalcemia. This condition occurs when the level in the body is too low. Below is the list of direct effect from calcium deficiency:
- Weaken Bones
Calcium is essential to build and form skeletal structure but when the body detects the low intake of calcium, it is possible for body system to draw the calcium stocked in the bones that will cause deficiency of calcium in the bones. This condition could increase the risk of some bones condition like osteoporosis, arthritis and etc. It is not only affecting the bone density but also nails and dental organ.
- Tooth Decay
Calcium deficiency in children could cause them growing with weak structure of dental organ. Weak teeth will be easily affected by bacteria that could cause tooth decay.
- Heart Problem
Calcium has crucial role in maintaining the nervous system and heart muscle that will affect the blood pressure. if there is no enough calcium to make sure that, of course the risk of blood pressure will be increased as well.
- Late Signs of Puberty
It is commonly happened in female adolescence. The calcium deficiency during childhood will affect the fertility as well as the late sighs of puberty.
- Improper Body Structure
One of the reasons why children are not growing optimally is due to the amount of calcium in their body is not enough to support their growth or the skeletal development.
In pregnant women, the calcium deficiency could cause a miscarriage because body doesn’t have enough calcium to the fetal development.
General symptoms that may occur when a person is suffering from calcium deficiency is numbness or tingling feeling in some body parts like feet, hand and face, memory loss, confusion, depression, cramps or muscle aches and in worst case is hallucination.
Excessive Calcium (Hypercalcemia)
Just like calcium deficiency, the excess amount of calcium in the body is also able to cause some medical conditions. The high concentration of calcium level in the body is also well known as hypercalcemia or the opposite of hypocalcemia. A person who is suffering from hypercalcemia will suffer some conditions as listed below:
- Improper Kidney Function. They symptom that may occur is excessive urination and excessive thirst, a bit similar with diabetes patient but with a plus like some back pains.
- Abdomen Problems. Constipation, vomiting, nausea and appetite loss are the early symptoms of a person having abdomen problems caused by hypercalcemia.
- Muscle Pain. Both hypercalcemia and hypocalcemia will affect the muscle function.
- Skeletal Pain. Too much calcium is also not good for your bones.
- Psychological Problem. Not only hypocalcemia that could cause depression and irritability but hypercalcemia also has the same effect.
Hypocalcemia and hypercalcemia are two conditions that you should avoid by making sure that you are consuming enough calcium but not too much because something that is too much is never been good. So, what you should do then to make sure that your body is having enough calcium intake. The only source of calcium is foods and below is the list of foods recommended for you.
Source of Calcium
Below is the top list of foods that are rich of calcium.
- Cheese. As one of the most favorite dairy products, cheese is so rich of calcium. However, the level of calcium in each types of cheese is different, the highest found in Romano cheese.
- Milk. Milk is probably the highest calcium source found in animal products.
- Yogurt. Yogurt is one of the dairy products which are rich of calcium. However, for the maximum effect you should choose plain and non fat yogurt.
- Sardines. Sardines are considered to be one of the healthy fish, besides it is so rich in calcium as well as Omega 3 fatty acid and DHA.
- Canned Salmon. Why is it canned salmon not the fresh salmon? Well, the highest source of calcium in salmon lay in the bones. It will be difficult to mash up the bones from fresh salmon that’s why canned salmon is the best option, through the canning process, not only the meat that is soften but also the bones, so it is easy for you to mash them up.
- Dark Leafy Greens. Dark leafy greens are like turnips, spinach and kale are the best options of vegetables for calcium source.
- Beans. No one will argue that most beans variety is rich of calcium and iron.
- Almond. Almond is basically so rich of minerals and calcium is one n the top list. However, it is also high in calories just like other nuts, so if you are choosing almond as part of your daily snack, you should snack wisely.
- Orange. Aside from all the benefits of vitamin C contained in orange, this fruit is also rich of calcium. Orange is totally healthy choice of snack in the hot mid day.
- Seaweed. Believe it or not, seaweed is also rich of calcium and fiber.
One important thing to note is the way you cook or process the mean generally could affect the raise or lower of the calcium content in foods but not significantly.
However, the addition of salt and other mineral content that are not part of the original foods may increase the level of calcium you consume. The list of foods mentioned above is not a basic guidance, so it doesn’t mean that when you eat cheese then you will get more calcium than when you eat seaweed. So, be a wise consumer.