July 13, 2022
The role of calcium in the body is much more than just keeping your bones strong. This article details the role of calcium, some calcium-rich foods, how much calcium you need, and what happens if you have too much or too less of it.
Calcium is a mineral that is essential for various bodily functions. In fact, it is the most abundant mineral found in your body and forms a major part of your teeth and bones.
Calcium has various important functions and some of them include:
Regulating clot formation
Aiding muscle contractions, including heart muscles
Building teeth and bones and keeping them healthy and strong
Regulating blood circulation
Maintaining healthy communication between the brain and other organs of your body
A short-term calcium deficiency usually is symptomless as your body manages the amount required from the bones; however, a long-term low calcium level can cause:
Osteopenia: A condition where one has weak bones and low bone mass
Osteoporosis: A condition where the bone becomes fragile and porous and is more prone to fracture.
Some symptoms of low calcium levels are:
Numbness in fingers
Abnormal heart rhythm
Moreover, maintaining normal calcium levels can prevent high blood pressure, cancer, and heart disorders, and aids weight loss.
High calcium levels can be due to excess intake of calcium supplements. Some hazards of high calcium levels are:
Increased risk of kidney stones
Heart disorders (this is yet to be proved)
The amount of calcium essential for you depends on your age and gender. Here is an average recommended amount (Table 1):
Table 1: Recommended daily allowance based on age and gender
Recommended daily allowance
Birth to 6 months
Infants 7–12 months
Children 1–3 years
Children 4–8 years
Children 9–13 years
Teens 14–18 years
Adults 19–50 years
Adult men 51–70 years
Adult women 51–70 years
Adults 71 years and older
Pregnant and breastfeeding teens
Pregnant and breastfeeding adults
Some food items that are rich in calcium are:
Marine fishes such as tuna and rani
Clams and squids
Cereals and millets, such as amaranth seeds, ragi and bajra
Fruits such as mangoes, apples, blueberries
Calcium is a mineral that is essential for various bodily functions. You can get the required daily requirement from foods rich in calcium, or supplements if required. However, you should monitor your calcium intake so that you don’t get too little or too much.
Calcium absorption is as high as 60% in infants and young children, who need substantial amounts of the mineral to build bones!!
We have started an A-Z, blog-series on nutrients, covering all your vitals in one place! Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like a specific nutrient of interest to be covered, we would love to keep that as our priority!
Rashida Vapiwala (Founder at LabelBlind®, Food Label Specialist, Ph.D (Food Science and Nutrition))
Rashida is passionate about solving problems for the food industry using technology. She loves creating tech-led solutions in the space of Nutrition.