minerals

calcium

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body. It is essential for the development and maintenance of strong bones and teeth; roughly 99% of calcium in the body is deposited in these two places. It is necessary for blood clotting, stabilizes many body functions. It can ease insomnia and is necessary for maintaining a regular heartbeat and the transmission of nerve impulses. Calcium regulates heart rhythm and the passage of nutrients in and out of the cell walls. It helps with lowering cholesterol, muscular growth, the prevention of muscle cramps and normal blood clotting and may reduce the incidence of colon cancer. Calcium also stops lead from being absorbed into bone. To function correctly, calcium must be accompanied by several other nutrients including magnesium, phosphorous, and vitamins A, C, D, and K.

The best sources of calcium are foods, but supplements may be necessary for those who cannot meet their calcium needs through diet alone. In fact, according to the National Institutes of Health, many Americans consume less than half the amount of calcium recommended to build and maintain healthy bones. Heavy use of caffeine can diminish calcium levels; therefore, higher amounts of calcium may be needed if you drink a lot of coffee. Also, a diet high in protein can increase loss of calcium through the urine. Excessive intake of sodium, phosphates (from carbonated beverages) and alcohol, as well as the use of aluminum-containing antacids also contribute to increased excretion of calcium.

Calcium deficiency can be found in people with malabsorption problems, such as Crohn's disease, celiac disease, and surgical intestinal resection. Prolonged bed rest causes loss of calcium from the bones and the elderly are less able to absorb calcium.

Good sources of Calcium are:
milk, beans, nuts, fish, green leafy vegetables.