Calcium- most often associated with healthy bones

Calcium is more than just bone health. Discover more about role of calcium, benefits, its amount required, and calcium-rich foods

July 13, 2022

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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.

Role of Calcium in the Body

  • 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

Health Impact of Low Calcium Level

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:

  • Convulsions

  • Numbness in fingers

  • Abnormal heart rhythm

Moreover, maintaining normal calcium levels can prevent high blood pressure, cancer, and heart disorders, and aids weight loss.

Hazards of High Calcium Level

  • 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)

  • Constipation

Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of Calcium

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

Age/gender

Recommended daily allowance

Birth to 6 months

200 mg

Infants 7–12 months

260 mg

Children 1–3 years

700 mg

Children 4–8 years

1,000 mg

Children 9–13 years

1,300 mg

Teens 14–18 years

1,300 mg

Adults 19–50 years

1,000 mg

Adult men 51–70 years

1,000 mg

Adult women 51–70 years

1,200 mg

Adults 71 years and older

1,200 mg

Pregnant and breastfeeding teens

1,300 mg

Pregnant and breastfeeding adults

1,000 mg

10 Calcium-rich Foods

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

  • Yam

  • Sweet potatoes

  • Dried Apricots

  • Fruits such as mangoes, apples, blueberries

  • Milk

  • Broccoli

  • Tofu

  • Spinach

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.

Interesting fact:

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 info@labelblind.com if you would like a specific nutrient of interest to be covered, we would love to keep that as our priority!

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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.

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