Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body and has various functions. These include mineralization of our bones and teeth, muscle contraction, blood clotting, immunity, blood pressure control, nerve function, and heart beat regulation. In fact, 99 percent of the calcium in our body is used to help keep our bones and teeth strong. Calcium can also decrease the risk of colon cancer as well as lower systolic blood pressure for those with high blood pressure. You can reduce your risk for osteoporosis by consuming adequate amounts of calcium throughout your life.
• Milk products
• Small fish with bones
• Green leafy vegetables
Most people in the U.S. do not consume the recommended amounts of calcium from food sources. In order to help counter this issue, calcium supplements are often used to increase intake. If a child or adolescent has a calcium deficiency, there can be decreased bone mass and bone strength. Deficiency in adults, particularly in postmenopausal women, can lead to osteopenia, osteomalacia, or osteoporosis.
If you consume too much calcium, especially in supplement form, it can lead to constipation and kidney stones. In order for calcium to be absorbed in our body, vitamin D must be present. High calcium intake also interferes with the absorption of other minerals, including iron, zinc, and magnesium. Caffeine, alcohol, and excess sodium intake can all decrease calcium absorption and/or increase calcium excretion from your body.
Recommended Daily Amount
Both men and women should consume 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day.