Calcium

A full-grown human body contains between 1 and 1,4 kg of calcium. 99% of calcium is stored in the skeleton, the rest is stored in the blood and tissues. The calcium mineral is not only a support element for bones and teeth, but it is also required for various metabolic processes. Calcium’s concentration in the body is kept almost constant through hormonal regulation mechanisms. If too little calcium is absorbed, the body draws on its emergency reserve contained in the bones. For example, oestrogen deficiency occurring due to menopause, leads to a reduction in bone mass.

Functions in the Body

  • Fundamental for bone and teeth structure
  • Forwards signals to the nerves
  • Provides for normal muscle function
  • Aids in blood clotting
  • Supports numerous metabolic processes (i.e., carbohydrate metabolism)

Deficiency Symptoms

  • Demineralization of bones and teeth
  • Muscle and nerve function disorders
  • Sensory disturbances in the limbs

Overdose

The body eliminates excess calcium through the urine. Depending on an individual’s physiology, excessive calcium levels due to a metabolic disorder or an oversupply of calcium supplements can cause kidneys stones or renal calcification. Functional disorders of the digestive tract, heart and nerves can also occur.

Interactions

+ Vitamin D and Lactate (Lactic Acid) increase the body’s calcium intake.
– The rate of calcium absorption is reduced by dietary fibres, phosphates (i.e., in processed cheese, sausages, cold cuts), phytic acid (i.e., in legumes, whole grains), oxalate (especially as found in rhubarb, spinach, Swiss chard) and saturated fats (i.e., palm butter, lard).
Caffeine, alcohol and a high intake of animal protein increase calcium excretion into the urine.
High calcium intake, i.e., through supplements/tablets, diminishes iron, zinc and magnesium absorption.

Sources

Milk and milk products, calcium enriched mineral water (more than 300 mg of calcium per litre), almonds, walnuts, green vegetables and herbs.

Recommended Daily Amounts

Young people 1200 mg
Adults 1000 mg
Adults 65 years old and over 1000 mg

«5 a Day» helps you in meeting your body’s daily mineral and trace elements requirements.

To meet the 1000 mg daily calcium requirements, the following should be eaten: 630 g arugula (rocket), or 961 g spinach, or 1,07 kg broccoli, or 1,25 kg Swiss chard, or 1,56 kg kohlrabi, savoy cabbage, red cabbage or black salsify or 1,66 kg figs.