Calcium

Background Info:

  • Most abundant mineral in the body
  • The body stores more than 99% of calcium in the bones & teeth which helps make & keep them strong

Health Benefits: 

  • Building and maintaining strong bones
  • Aids our metabolism
  • Manages our nervous system, muscle function (including the heart), and healthy blood vessels
  • Reducing the risk for type 2 diabetes
  • Regulate mood fluctuations attributed to PMS
  • Help muscles and blood vessels contract and expand, to secrete hormones and enzymes and to send messages through the nervous system.

Recommended Dietary Allowance:

  • 50 or younger: 1000 mg
  • >50 years old: 1200 mg

Food Sources:

  • Almond butter
  • Amaranth
  • Blackberries
  • Black-strap molasses
  • Bok choy – 158 mg in 1 cup cooked
  • Broccoli
  • Collard greens
  • Dates
  • Figs
  • Kale
  • Milk
  • Ricotta – 257 mg in 1/2 cup 
  • Canned salmon
  • Tahini
  • Yogurt
  • Fortified cereal

Absorption:

  • Vitamin D assists the digestive tract in absorbing calcium and only a minimal amount of calcium is absorbed  without vitamin D. Check labels of fortified dairy products & cereals to ensure they have both vitamin D + calcium.
  • The body can absorb only about 500-600 mg of calcium at a time so do not try to take in all of your dietary calcium at one sitting.

Deficiency:

  • Insufficient intakes of calcium do not produce obvious symptoms in the short term because the body maintains calcium levels in the blood by taking it from bone.
  • Over the long term, intakes of calcium below recommended levels have health consequences, such as causing low bone mass (osteopenia) and increasing the risks of osteoporosis and bone fractures.
  • Symptoms of serious calcium deficiency include numbness and tingling in the fingers, convulsions, and abnormal heart rhythms that can lead to death if not corrected. These symptoms occur almost always in people with serious health problems or who are undergoing certain medical treatments.

Upper Limit:

  • Getting too much calcium can cause constipation. It might also interfere with the body’s ability to absorb iron and zinc, but this effect is not well established.
  • In adults, too much calcium (from dietary supplements but not food) might increase the risk of kidney stones.
  • Most people do not get amounts above the upper limits from food alone; excess intakes usually come from the use of calcium supplements.
  • 50 or younger: 2500 mg
  • >50 years old: 2000 mg

References:

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