Calcium the vital mineral for strong bones. Calcium is the vital mineral found in bones, nails and teeth. The body uses calcium to stabilise blood pressure and build strong bones and teeth. When the body is not able to absorb required amounts of daily calcium needs, there is an increased risk of developing diseases like osteoporosis, osteopenia and calcium deficiency diseases (hypoglycemia). There are various reasons to slow down calcium absorption by the human body. Most of the calcium in the body is stored in bones. As we age, the bones begin to thin or become less dense (spongy):
1. In women, after the onset of menopause, the levels of estrogen hormone decrease and thereby increasing the risk of osteoporosis and brittle bones. This increases their daily calcium requirement.
2. The hormone disorder hyperparathyroidism may also cause calcium deficiency disease.People with hypoparathyroidism do not produce enough parathyroid hormone which controls calcium levels in the blood.
3. Other causes of calcium deficiency disease can be due to malnutrition and malabsorption (the body cant absorb the vitamins and minerals you need from the food you eat).
4. Low levels of vitamin D, which makes it harder to absorb calcium, too much potassium which can burn calcium and medications for thyroid replacement. If we don't meet our daily requirements of calcium, we won't become calcium deficient overnight, But the body maintains calcium levels by taking it directly from the bones. So we should always make an effort to get enough calcium every day. Vegans are more likely to get calcium deficient because they don't eat calcium-rich dairy products.
Symptoms of Calcium Deficiency:
1) Confusion or memory loss
2) Muscle spasms
3) Numbness and tingling in the hands, feet and face
4) Depression, hallucination, muscle cramps
5) Easy and brittle nails
6) Easy fracturing of the bones
Normal calcium levels for adults can range from 8.8 to 10.4 milligrams per deciliter. If you are below 8.8 milligrams per deciliter, you have a calcium deficiency. Do not self-treat by taking a lot of calcium supplements. Taking more than recommended dose without your doctor's approval can lead to serious issues like kidney stones or even a calcium overdose, which can be fatal.
Commonly recommended calcium supplements include:
- Calcium carbonate, which is the least expensive and has the most elemental calcium
- Calcium citrate which is most easily absorbed calcium phosphate which is also easily absorbed and doesn't cause constipation
Complications of Calcium Deficiency:
- Eye damage
- Abnormal heartbeat
- Spinal fractures
- Bone fractures and difficulty in walking