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Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body. Calcium comprises the major structural element of bones and teeth. Calcium is thus vital to its development and maintenance. The bones and teeth are where about 99% of the body's calcium can be found.
In addition to being the key player in bone and teeth health, calcium also plays an important role in cell signaling, which in turn allows the heart, nerves, muscles, and other body systems to work properly.
Calcium is so vital for normal physiological functioning that it is important for calcium levels in the blood and fluid surrounding the cells to be maintained within a very narrow range. If the body senses that there is insufficient calcium levels, it will demineralize bones to maintain normal blood calcium levels.
For calcium to be adequately absorbed by the human body, vitamin D, vitamin K, phosphorus and magnesium, among others, are required.
The following are outstanding sources of calcium in the diet:
- Fruit Juices
- Brazil Nuts
It has been found that high sodium and protein intake can increase the loss of calcium in the urine. Conversely, high intake of phosphorus and caffeine tends to decrease the excretion of calcium through the urine.
The low intake of calcium amongst growing individuals may hinder the attainment of optimal peak bone mass. Inadequate calcium intake among people having achieved peak bone mass may contribute to accelerated bone loss and ultimately to the development of osteoporosis, which is the skeletal disorder involving compromised bone strength.
Individuals exceeding the recommended daily intake of calcium for an extended period of time can result in hypercalcemia and calcium metabolism disorder, as well as kidney stones.
Calcium is often included as part of commercially-available multivitamin diet supplements.
The following are the calcium benefits that may be derived from this mineral:
Calcium helps in the prevention of osteoporosis.
Calcium may help lower blood pressure and hence reduce risks of hypertension.
Calcium may help in the overall treatment of rickets.
Calcium may have positive effects against colorectal cancer.
Calcium may help reduce symptoms of pre-menstrual syndrome.
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