Since the very inception of your existence, from the first breath you took, calcium quietly assumed a pivotal role in sustaining your well-being. This unassuming mineral has been an unsung hero, silently performing a multitude of crucial functions within your body’s intricate web of cells. As we embark on a journey to uncover the profound significance of calcium, we’ll discover its pervasive influence across fundamental aspects of our health – from the intricate workings of our nervous system to the rhythmic beating of our hearts, the steadfast support of our bones, and the power behind our muscles. In this article, we aim to delve deeper into the remarkable role that calcium plays in the maintenance of our overall health.
What is calcium?
Calcium, often regarded as the cornerstone of human physiology, assumes a multifaceted and indispensable role within the intricate workings of our bodies. As one of the most abundant minerals coursing through our physiological landscape, calcium orchestrates a symphony of vital functions that are pivotal to our well-being. This elemental stalwart is not merely an ancillary component but a linchpin that sustains the harmonious functioning of various bodily systems.
At its core, calcium is the custodian of bone health, diligently fortifying the structural integrity of our skeletal framework. Its influence extends far beyond the confines of our bones, for it also wields its authority in bolstering the vigor of our muscles and heart, and in overseeing the precise regulation of our nervous system. In essence, calcium is an indispensable coenzyme, a molecular maestro that orchestrates metabolic processes with virtuoso precision.
The profound symbiosis between calcium and our skeletal system is unmistakable. It is here that calcium deposits its reserves, serving as a custodial vault where approximately 99% of its wealth is safeguarded. The remaining 1% of this precious mineral roams freely beyond the skeletal realm, weaving its magic across various physiological domains.
The story of calcium is not one of self-sufficiency, for our bodies, incapable of manufacturing this vital substance, rely on external sources to fulfill their calcium cravings. A dietary cornucopia, brimming with calcium-rich sustenance, becomes the vessel through which we stock our physiological coffers. An ample supply of dietary calcium is not a mere luxury; it is an imperative. Inadequate calcium intake triggers an alarm within our bodies, prompting them to embark on an extraction mission, siphoning calcium from our bones, and in so doing, elevating the specter of osteoporosis.
Beyond the bulwark it provides for bone health, calcium extends its benevolent reach into a multitude of bodily domains, offering an array of additional benefits:
- Maestro of Muscles: Calcium conducts the symphony of muscle contractions with a virtuoso’s finesse.
- Guardian of Grins: It stands sentinel over our jawbones, safeguarding our teeth against the onslaught of bacterial marauders.
- Transporter of Nutrients: Calcium aids in the graceful transportation of life-sustaining nutrients through our intricate network of blood vessels.
- Weight Watcher’s Ally: Its presence is a silent partner in the quest for maintaining a healthy weight.
- Heart’s Sentinel: By supporting healthy blood pressure levels, calcium becomes a stalwart defender of cardiovascular well-being.
- Stone Cold Preventer: It diligently works to stave off the formation of kidney stones, sparing us the agony of renal woes.
- Digestive Maestro: The mineral’s presence can alleviate the unsettling symptoms of indigestion.
- pH Balancer: Calcium acts as a subtle yet crucial balancer of pH levels within the body’s internal milieu.
How does calcium affect height growth?
Within our bodies, bones are vibrant and dynamic tissues that undergo a remarkable journey of growth, maintenance, and transformation. This intricate process influences our overall height and bone health.
From the moment of birth until roughly the age of 25, our bodies are diligently engaged in the construction of bones, not only increasing their length but also enhancing their density. This period is characterized by a bustling symphony of growth and repair. As we transition into the 25 to 50-year age bracket, our bones maintain a delicate equilibrium between breakdown and rebuilding. It is during this phase that we attain what is known as “peak bone mass,” representing the pinnacle of bone strength and vitality. However, as we advance beyond the age of 50, the balance tips unfavorably, with more bone breakdown than regeneration. While this leads to a degree of bone loss, it is important to note that not everyone will succumb to osteoporosis, a condition marked by severe bone weakening.
It is crucial to recognize that the growth spurt experienced by children is largely attributed to the elongation and enlargement of their bones. As previously mentioned, calcium plays a pivotal role in the development and maintenance of robust bones. This underscores the necessity of ensuring an adequate calcium intake to sustain optimal levels in the bloodstream. When calcium is insufficient, the body resorts to extracting this vital mineral from the bones themselves. Over time, this continuous calcium withdrawal weakens the bones, diminishing their strength and resilience.
In essence, calcium is not merely a passive bystander in our journey of height growth and bone health; it is a central player that demands our attention and care to support the ongoing symphony of bone development and maintenance.
How much calcium do you need per day?
How to supplement calcium for height increase?
One of the best ways to obtain recommended calcium intake is to consume calcium-rich foods. But not all people do not get the recommended daily intake. So, you need to know which food groups you should focus on to reach higher levels of calcium.
|Food type||Examples||Calcium range (mg/serving)|
|Dairy||Milk, cheese, yogurt||150 – 305|
|Vegetables||Broccoli, kale, bok choy, lettuce, rhubarb||59 – 250|
|Fruits||Oranges, figs (dried), strawberries, kiwi||16 – 95|
|Nuts and seeds||Almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, sesame seeds||28 – 75|
|Meat||Chicken, red meat||21 – 105|
|Seafood||Salmon, sardines, trout, prawns, oysters||35 – 300|
|Others||Eggs, seaweed, tofu, canned soybean or chickpeas||21 – 105|
For some cases, doctors might suggest you take a supplement to ensure enough calcium intake per day. 500-600 mg daily is the safe and effective range that you should take. Calcium carbonate or calcium citrate are the most common types you can get. And you can get it in many types, including tablets or powder.
Always ensure that you get the proper dosage as the doctor suggested. Avoid taking too much calcium, or it might lead to an increased risk of colon polyps and kidney stones.
What to consider when supplementing calcium?
Not all the calcium we take is absorbed. Importantly, calcium needs to be combined with certain nutrients and vitamins to improve the absorption of calcium.
Vitamin D is vital for strong bones for reasons. It helps boost calcium absorption in the gastrointestinal tract, control the amount of calcium in the blood, and improve the skeletal system. It also supports muscle function and decreases the risk of falls.
The main and effective source of vitamin D is sunlight. Simply expose your face, hands, and arms to the sun every day. Also, you can find vitamin D in foods like fatty fish, eggs, liver, and fortified foods. If you do not get enough vitamin D from exposure to sunlight and diet, it is necessary to discuss this with your doctor.
How much vitamin D should you take every day?
|0-12 months||10 mcg (400 IU)|
|1-13 years||15 mcg (600 IU)|
|14-18 years||15 mcg (600 IU)|
|19-70 years||15 mcg (600 IU)|
|71+ years||20 mcg (800 IU)|
|Pregnant and breastfeeding teens and women||15 mcg (600 IU)|
Aside from supplementing vitamin D, you should add vitamin K to control calcium and build strong bones in the body effectively. You are able to meet the daily suggestion for vitamin K by simply eating broccoli, dark green lettuce, Brussels sprouts, kale, or collard greens.
This nutrient acts as a building block for replacing and repairing tissue, healing fractures, and supporting immune function. The exact amount of protein you need daily varies, depending on many factors. The Dietary Reference Intake suggests 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight. For instance, if you are 150 pounds, you should consume about 54 grams of protein daily.
But if you take too much protein with the amount of calcium consumed, calcium might be leached from the bones because extra protein is burned.
What happens when you over-supplement with calcium?
Excessive calcium intake can result in a medical condition known as hypercalcemia, characterized by elevated levels of calcium in the bloodstream. The recommended upper limit for daily calcium intake, combining dietary sources and supplements, is typically set at 2,500 mg. However, surpassing this threshold, particularly through the use of supplements, can lead to various health issues.
- Kidney Stones: One of the most well-known consequences of excessive calcium supplementation is an increased risk of kidney stones. Elevated levels of calcium in the urine can promote the formation of these painful and potentially debilitating stones.
- Constipation: An excessive intake of calcium supplements may also lead to gastrointestinal discomfort, including constipation, due to its potential to interfere with normal digestive processes.
- Prostate Cancer: Some studies have suggested a potential link between high calcium intake, particularly from supplements, and an increased risk of prostate cancer. However, the evidence on this association is not yet conclusive and requires further research.
- Cardiovascular Issues: In certain individuals, excessive calcium accumulation in blood vessels can pose a risk to heart health, potentially contributing to cardiovascular problems. This underscores the importance of maintaining an appropriate balance of calcium in the body.
Calcium is undeniably essential for maintaining adequate bone mass and supporting the structural integrity of the body. It is advisable to obtain your required calcium from dietary sources and, if necessary, seek guidance from a healthcare professional to establish and adhere to a nutritionally balanced diet plan.
What are your thoughts on this topic? Do you have any questions or comments? We welcome your input in the comments section below.
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