Calcium is an essential mineral. If you would like to know whether you are well supplied with calcium or whether you suffer from a calcium deficiency, you can find out here how you can check your personal calcium supply. We present options that you can implement for yourself at home and also options that can be used together with your doctor or alternative practitioner to diagnose a calcium deficiency.
The diagnosis of calcium deficiency
Calcium is almost the best known and probably also the most frequently supplemented mineral. Since calcium is associated in particular with bone and dental health, many people are interested in how their calcium balance is doing.
While iron deficiency is very commonly checked and diagnosed, calcium is not. This is simply because we know the relevant values and measurements for the iron balance, while the calcium supply was not so easy to check and measure for a long time. Doctors in particular are always a bit overwhelmed when they ask how a calcium deficiency is diagnosed or which tests are necessary.
In our Calcium main text Calcium: Symptoms and causes of a calcium deficiency you will learn all about:
- the tasks and functions of calcium
- the symptoms of calcium deficiency
- the causes of calcium deficiency
- the calcium requirement
- how to correct a calcium deficiency (with diet and certain supplements)
Determine calcium deficiency with a nail or hair analysis
A nail or hair analysis can be a simple method of getting the first indications of a chronic calcium deficiency. To do this, just cut off a little hair at the hairline or some fingernails and send them to the appropriate laboratory. After a few days, you will receive the result by email.
However, please note the special features explained in the following link when evaluating your results because an excess of calcium in the hair can also indicate a deficiency.
Calcium in the serum says nothing about the supply status
The doctor occasionally determines the calcium value in the blood serum or in the urine (24-hour urine collection). However, never in order to tell the patient afterward whether he is getting enough calcium or whether he has a calcium deficiency. Because the calcium value in the blood says next to nothing about the condition of the calcium supply of the respective person. The body makes sure that the blood always contains more or less 1 percent of the body’s calcium. The rest is tucked away in the bones.
If a lot of calcium gets into the blood with food, the excess calcium is immediately channeled into the bones or excreted with the stool and urine. If the calcium level in the blood falls, the required calcium is immediately mobilized from the bones again.
If this control circuit no longer works properly and the calcium value in the blood rises or falls permanently, this is usually a sign of a disease that the doctor then wants to rule out or confirm with his examination (thyroid, parathyroid, liver diseases, cancer, etc.). Some harmful external influences can also change the calcium value unfavorably (e.g. vitamin D overdose or vitamin D deficiency, side effects of laxatives or other medicines).
But if you just want to know whether you are well supplied with calcium, e.g. B. to have healthy and strong bones into old age, does not get very far with the calcium blood values. On the contrary, the calcium levels in the blood can still be perfectly fine even with pronounced osteoporosis.
Calcium in whole blood
While conventional medicine usually determines values in serum (blood without blood cells), orthomolecular physicians or holistically oriented physicians often carry out vital substance analyses in whole blood (blood with serum and blood cells). This means that the respective vital substance proportions in the blood cells are also determined, from which one can often deduce the corresponding supply in the tissue.
In terms of calcium, however, this is of no use either, because calcium is only about 10 percent in the blood cells and 90 percent in the serum.
Calcium in serum and whole blood
Holistic therapists often determine both serum and whole blood mineral levels. Then disturbances in the cell metabolism can be better recognized. If – using the example of calcium – the value in the cell (whole blood) rose, this would be a sign of a lack of energy in the cell, which would promote fermentation processes and could indicate a precancerous stage. However, neither one nor the other value is particularly useful for diagnosing a calcium deficiency.
Determining calcium via bone density measurement?
So basically the only thing left is the bone density measurement. It is only paid for by health insurers if the doctor has a concrete suspicion of osteoporosis (in the past even only after a bone fracture) and he has permission from the responsible association of statutory health insurance physicians to be able to offer bone density measurements on a chip card. If he does not have this approval, he must refer the patient to a colleague who has this approval.
However, if you want to find out the quality of your calcium supply via the condition of your bone density, purely out of interest, then the bone density measurement is of course a personal service and costs 50 to 60 euros plus practice fees.
But the purpose of measuring bone density is also questionable, especially in younger people. Because a calcium deficiency would have to be very extreme for bone density to decrease measurably in young and middle age.
Bone calcium is not a good marker of bone health
In addition, good bone density reflects the calcium content of the bones but says nothing about actual bone health. With osteoporosis, the risk of fracture increases in particular because the connective tissue structures of the bone recede and loses their elasticity. However, the supply of calcium cannot influence this breakdown of connective tissue. This is more likely to be achieved through exercise and a good supply of magnesium and silicon, although the latter is only recommended in naturopathy and is not considered an evidence-based measure to strengthen the bones.
Movement is often underestimated. It’s better to swallow capsules. But without exercise, the calcium from food or calcium supplements cannot be built into the bones. Bone formation and thus calcium incorporation can only be achieved through movement stimuli.
Calcium deficiency: the self-diagnosis
To assess the calcium supply, you can also first check your own lifestyle and diet. This often provides very quick information about your personal calcium supply. To do this, answer the following questions:
- How much calcium does your food provide?
Look at your diet for one or more days and add up the approximate calcium content of your daily meals using nutritional tables that you can find everywhere on the Internet (e.g. www.naehrwertrechner.de). In this way, you can quickly find out how much calcium you eat on average per day and you can compare your calcium intake with the recommended calcium intake of 1000 to 1200 g per day.
- Do you look for factors that promote calcium absorption from food?
When putting together your diet, do you pay attention to factors that promote calcium absorption or do you avoid factors that could worsen your calcium supply? (Example: Fruits promote calcium absorption, too much salt as well as coffee and black tea worsen the calcium balance). We describe other factors here: Taking calcium correctly
- Do you take medication that causes calcium depletion?
A number of drugs inhibit calcium absorption, increase calcium requirements or promote excessive calcium excretion in the urine. These drugs include the following:
- Antacids (to bind gastric acid, e.g. Rennie, etc.)
- Some immunosuppressants
- Acid blockers (proton pump inhibitors, e.g. omeprazole, pantoprazole, etc.)
- Drugs for epilepsy
- cortisone preparations
- thyroid hormones
- Diuretics (for drainage)
So if you must take one or more of these medications, look for safer alternatives or consult your doctor about calcium supplements.
Also, check other medications you are taking for possible interactions with calcium metabolism. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if there is no information on the internet or in the package leaflet.
- Do you have health problems that promote a calcium deficiency?
Stomach problems, chronic intestinal diseases, diabetes, or kidney dysfunction can promote calcium deficiency and are usually good reasons to take calcium from a dietary supplement. However, if you have kidney disease, discuss taking minerals with your doctor.
- Have a healthy digestive system
The state of the digestive system also influences the supply of minerals. Do you suffer from food intolerances? Digestive irregularities? upset stomach? chronic diarrhea? Then there is a great danger that your intestines will not be able to fully absorb all the nutrients and vital substances, no matter how much of them you eat.
- Are you moving enough?
With regard to bone health, calcium is only useful if you also ensure sufficient exercise. Because only movement exerts on the bone cells the stimuli required for bone formation and calcium incorporation.
Strength training is ideal here, as it provides the necessary intensive stress on the bones, which then leads to the activation of the bone cells. Of course, you can combine strength training with endurance training in order to not only think about your bones but also about your cardiovascular system.
- Are you consuming enough vital substances?
Check your magnesium, vitamin D, and vitamin K supply, because vitamin D can only be activated with sufficient magnesium, only with sufficient vitamin D can the calcium from food be absorbed into the blood via the intestinal mucosa, and only with enough With vitamin K, the calcium can also be properly distributed in the organism (into the bones and not in the blood vessels or other soft tissue).
- Are you ill and your calcium requirement is higher than usual?
Is your calcium requirement currently so high that you cannot cover it in the short term through diet alone (e.g. with a low-calcium diet, with corresponding diseases, with acidosis)? If so, it makes sense to take calcium supplements for a short period of time (e.g. for 4 to 12 weeks or until you feel better).