Calcium: Benefits And Harms For Our Body

Historical background:

In 1808, calcium was first isolated by chemist Humphrey Davy.

The calcium content in a man’s body is approximately 1.5 kg, in a woman – 1 kg and 99% of it is in the bones of the skeleton.

Three hormones regulate the concentration of calcium in the blood:

Parathyroid hormone is a hormone of the parathyroid glands that mobilizes calcium from the bones when its level in the blood decreases.

Calcitonin – a thyroid hormone that ensures the preservation of calcium in bone tissue when the level of the latter in the blood becomes too high.

Vitamin D or 1,25 – dihydroxycholecalciferol, which is formed in the skin under the influence of ultraviolet radiation and also comes with food, ensures absorption of calcium from food from the intestines.

Calcium’s effect on the body:

Calcium enables muscle contraction. In the case of calcium metabolism disorder, a decrease in muscle tone is observed, the abdomen becomes sluggish and relaxed, and the child starts walking late.

Without calcium, electrical activity and heart contractions are impossible.
This ion is key in the contraction of the smooth muscles of blood vessels (pressure maintenance), intestines (peristalsis), uterus, and bladder. Smooth muscles of the internal organs suffer from a lack of calcium tone, which leads to organ prolapse and constipation. Stomach activity becomes lazy and slow.

Calcium provides the process of neurotransmitter action in the transmission of information between brain cells, nerves, and muscles. Calcium deficiency disrupts the mechanisms of excitation and inhibition in the central nervous system. In children, this is manifested by nighttime fright or crying, nervousness, insomnia, and excessive mobility. In adults, it is manifested by stress, anxiety, memory impairment, decreased endurance, and fatigue.
A decrease in the amount of this ion in the blood is accompanied by an excitatory effect in nerve and muscle cells. As a result, tetany occurs – significant spasms of skeletal muscles, including limbs and larynx.

Calcium plays an important role in the process of blood clotting. With a decrease in the level of calcium in the blood, platelet adhesion and blood clot compaction are disrupted, and bleeding time is prolonged.

The strength of the bones behind the teeth directly depends on the number of calcium salts in them. Also, the skeleton serves as a calcium reservoir, from where some part enters the bloodstream as needed, or the excess is deposited.

A daily dose of calcium:

  • 500 or 1000 mg per day – for adults.
  • Up to 2000 milligrams per day – for a lactating woman.
  • 1500 milligrams per day – for a pregnant woman.

Signs of calcium deficiency:

Signs of calcium deficiency in the body include the following seemingly unrelated symptoms:

Nervousness, moodiness, heart palpitations, cramps, numbness in the limbs, slow growth of children, high blood pressure, split, and brittle nails; joint pain, lowered “pain threshold”, heavy menstruation.

Causes of calcium deficiency:

Calcium deficiency can be caused by unbalanced diets (especially fasting), low calcium in food, smoking and excessive coffee consumption, dysbiosis, insufficient vitamin D, kidney disease, thyroid disease, pregnancy, lactation, and menopause.

Excessive calcium intake can lead to hypercalcemia, which can cause the following disorders:

  • Increased acidity of gastric juice, can lead to gastritis and stomach ulcers.
  • Calcification (deposition of calcium salts in soft tissues or organs, which should not contain salts in an insoluble state).
  • Heart diseases: angina pectoris, bradycardia.
  • Gout.
  • Increased blood clotting process.
  • Renal stone disease, nephrocalcinosis.
  • Reduction of smooth muscle tone.
  • Depression of the excitability of nerve fibers and skeletal muscles.

Sources of calcium:

Calcium is found in large quantities in cottage cheese, milk, sour cream, hard and processed cheeses, and other dairy products. It is from them that it is absorbed faster and easier, while the percentage of their fat content (for example, kefir or yogurt) does not matter.

Other sources of calcium are spinach, parsley, vegetables, beans, cauliflower, broccoli, horseradish, onions, soy cheese, apples, pears, dried apricots, fish, nuts, sunflower seeds, and sweet almonds.

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Written by Bella Adams

I'm a professionally-trained, executive chef with over ten years in Restaurant Culinary and hospitality management. Experienced in specialized diets, including Vegetarian, Vegan, Raw foods, whole food, plant-based, allergy-friendly, farm-to-table, and more. Outside of the kitchen, I write about lifestyle factors that impact well-being.

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