Calcium is necessary for many bodily functions. Calcium is needed for nerve transmission, hormonal production, intracellular signals, muscle functions, vasodilation and vascular contraction. Calcium is the most common mineral inside the body. The body doesn’t even need 1% of its total calcium to keep up those necessary metabolic functions. Serum calcium doesn’t change according to the amount of calcium in your diet. Bone tissue is used both as a source of calcium and as calcium reserve. The calcium from the bones is needed to keep up a steady concentration of the mineral in muscles, blood and intercellular fluid.
So what happens to the other 99% of the calcium in the body? That’s what gets stored in the teeth and the bones where Calium supports their structure. Bone tissue is constantly reabsorbing calcium and making deposits of new calcium, to form new bone tissue. The ratio of bone deposits to bone reabsorption alters as we get older. For children and teenagers, more bone is formed than is reabsorbed when they hit growth spurts. For those in early or middle adulthood, bone formation and reabsorption tends to be more or less the same. As we get older, especially for women who have gone past the menopause, bones are reabsorbed faster than new material is deposited. This condition leads to bone loss and can eventually lead to osteoporosis. Calcium can be obtained from several sources, which are generally split into supplements, food sources, and some medications like antacids.
Dietary Sources of Calcium
When it comes to getting calcium from food, the amount of calcium in the food isn’t the only thing to think about. The bioavailability is also an important consideration. In other words, it’s important to also think about how much of the calcium can actually be absorbed into the body. For example, the calcium in many kinds of leafy dark green vegetables is better absorbed compared to the calcium found in dairy products.
Many people are surprised at just how many foods can be eaten to boost calcium intake. Milk is often talked about as a good source of course, but there are many other calcium rich foods out there. Getting calcium from food is preferable to other means, as the calcium is coming from a natural source. Here are some calcium rich foods that can easily be incorporated into the diet:
• Fortified foods are helpful if you or your family have milk allergy. Fruit juices, tofu and cereals are often fortified with calcium, making them great sources of Calcium.
• Many fruits and vegetables, such as kale and cabbage, are fantastic sources of calcium, alongside foods such as pulses, seeds and nuts.
• Breakfast cereals that are fortified with calcium can be added to your diet, such as Total Honey Clusters, Total Raisin Bran, General Mills Whole Grain Total and Total Cranberry Crunch.
• Eggs, fish, poultry and lean cuts of meat are also good sources of Calcium.
• Dairy products provide a good dietary source of calcium, including cheese, yogurt and milk.
• Broccoli is also a great source of calcium especially as it helps to increase calcium intake.
Calcium Taken As A Supplement
Sometimes calcium supplements may be recommended for people who have bone loss, bone related problems, or any other conditions that can result due to lack of calcium. A calcium supplement can be a helpful source of extra calcium, and can also support the teeth and bones. However, it should be noted that getting more than the recommended amount of calcium from supplements can be damaging. Excess calcium supplements have been linked to heart problems, constipations, kidney stones, digestive problems and prostate cancer. Extra calcium in the diet isn’t a problem, however.