What is Calcium?

Calcium is an essential supplement that helps develop and strengthen bones. Young children and adults alike need a daily dose of Calcium to prevent physical injury and long term bone damage. The heart, nerves and blood system also needs a fair amount of Calcium daily to function smoothly.

Functions of Calcium

  • Calcium helps reduce the breaking of bones. This is why it is an essential supplement especially for growing children. When children suffer from bone injuries and fractures, calcium and protein are often prescribed to help develop and strengthen the bones.
  • Calcium helps slow bone loss in women. It is especially useful for menopausal women who are at higher risk of osteoporosis and other bone problems.
  • Calcium is also an essential nutrient for elderly men who at higher risk of bone damage and fractures. It also helps prevent tooth loss in elderly people.
  • Calcium is also known to reduce symptoms of PMS (Pre-menstrual syndrome) in women. Adequate calcium consumption can prevent mood swings, food cravings and stomach pain in women who are on their menstrual cycle.
  • Calcium helps prevent colon cancer too.
  • Calcium can also help reduce blood pressure especially in pregnant women.
  • It is also beneficial for patients suffering from kidney disease because it helps reduce phosphate levels.
  • Calcium helps prevent bone less in pregnant women or nursing mothers.
  • It is also useful to patients who undergo kidney or bone marrow transplants.
  • Calcium can also function as an antacid in the form of calcium carbonate.
  • Patients who are on corticosteroid medication are at higher risk of bone loss, regular calcium consumption can help reduce the effect of bone loss.
  • Calcium can also reduce thyroid hormone levels in patients suffering from kidney failure.

Sources of Calcium

  • New born babies can obtain adequate amounts of calcium if they are breastfed.
  • For older people, milk, yogurt and cheese are considered to be good and natural sources of calcium. Orange juice, rich beverages and soy products are also considered to be good sources of calcium.

Calcium Deficiency

Severe calcium deficiency may lead to bone damage, tooth loss, hair fall and even fractures.

In children, calcium deficiency may stunt overall physical growth and development.

Recommended Dietary Allowance of Calcium

  • The recommended dietary allowance for calcium depends on a person’s age and health condition. Under normal circumstances infants and children up to 8 years of age are usually recommended 200 mg to 800 mg of calcium per day.
  • Children between 8 years of age and 15 years of age are recommended anything between 1000 mg to 1300 mg of calcium per day.
  • Women and men between the age of 16 years to 50 years should have at least a minimum of 1000 mg of calcium per day.
  • Older people above the age of 50 years should have a minimum intake of 1200 mg of calcium per day.

Tips and Warnings

Regular Calcium intake may lead to minor side effects like belching and gas.

If you suffer from blood conditions you should rely on natural sources of calcium otherwise it may lead to high calcium levels in the blood which eventually may lead to other problems.

Taking too much calcium a day may lead to other disorders or increase the chance of side effects.