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Calcium Is Responsible for Healthy Bones and Teeth
- Throughout life, a good constant supply of calcium is required for healthy bones and teeth. Calcium takes two different forms. The first is bound tightly within bone. The second is found on the bone
- With the assistance of vitamin D,10-40% of ingested calcium is absorbed as it passes into the small intestine
- Consumption of alcohol, diuretics, sugar and coffee can increase calcium loss
- Functions of calcium can reduce the risk of osteoporosis and may help prevent periodontal disease
There is more calcium in the human body than any other mineral. An average man has approximately three pounds of calcium, while the average woman has approximately 2 pounds. The majority (about 99%) of calcium can be found in the teeth and bones. The other 1 % can be found in soft tissues. Calcium assists in regulating and facilitating normal bodily functions and processes.
Calcium takes two different forms. The first type is bound tightly within bone. The second type is more accessible and is found on the bone. The skeleton acts as a storage facility for the minerals the body uses. When calcium levels fall in the blood, the body can borrow from calcium stored in the bones to redress the deficiency.
Throughout the life cycle of a human being, a good constant supply of calcium is required. It is particularly important during periods of pregnancy, breast feeding (lactation) and during phases of growth.
Approximately 10-40% of ingested calcium is absorbed as it passes into the small intestine with the assistance of vitamin D. The body will absorb a greater amount of dietary calcium if there is a deficiency. Other factors that can improve the efficiency of calcium absorption include magnesium, adequate amounts of protein, vitamin D and phosphorous. Conditions that can impede calcium absorption include high amounts of phyates and oxalates. These are found in foods such as unleavened whole wheat and spinach. In addition, factors such as the consumption of alcohol, sugar, coffee, or medications such as tetracycline, diuretics, antacids containing aluminum, as well as stress can decrease the absorption of calcium. Also, lack of regular exercise can have an adverse effect on calcium, and it can actually cause increased calcium losses. Life style habits such as these can lead to a calcium deficiency, which in turn carries an increased risk of bone disorders, for example, osteoporosis.
The functions of calcium include:
• Calcium is responsible for construction and maintenance of healthy bones and teeth. The correct level of bodily calcium can help reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
• Calcium plays an important role in blood clotting systems. It also assists in the wound healing process.
• Calcium assists in the control of blood pressure, release of neurotransmitters and nerve transmission.
• Calcium is an essential element in the formation of hormones and enzymes that control energy, fat metabolism and digestion.
• Calcium helps to transport electrically charged particles (ions) across the cell membrane.
• Calcium is critical to muscle contraction.
• Calcium is essential to the maintenance of all connective tissues and cells in the body.
• Calcium may assist in reducing the risk of premature heart disease, particularly if adequate ingestion of magnesium is also maintained.
• Calcium may also help to prevent gum disease (known as periodontal disease).
Calcium deficiency can lead to an increased risk of hypertension, particularly when coupled with high sodium intake. It can also lead to loss of bone calcium, which in extreme cases can lead to deformity. Calcium deficiency can also cause muscle spasms, heightened nerve sensitivity and leg cramps.
The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.
|Minerals15 Nov 2008|