Calcium is a quantitative element. In adults, it accounts for 1 to 2 percent of body weight, making it the most abundant mineral. The largest proportion of it is bound in bones (and teeth). Calcium gives bones and teeth stability and strength, and at the same time bones serve as calcium stores. Calcium is needed to maintain normal bones and teeth. In children, it is used for healthy growth and development of bones. In postmenopausal women, it helps reduce bone mineral loss. Calcium has many other functions in the body. Among other things, it contributes to normal energy metabolism, normal muscle function and normal signal transmission between nerve cells.
The element symbol of the chemical element calcium is Ca. Its atomic number is 20. Calcium is found in the second main group in the periodic table. It belongs to the alkaline earth metals. Calcium is the fifth most abundant metal in the Earth’s shell, based on mass fraction.
In terms of quantity, calcium is the most important mineral in the human body. Calcium is responsible for the strength of bones (the bone density) and for teeth. Both bones and teeth consist largely of calcium compounds. The bones serve as the largest store of calcium.
But calcium has other important functions in the body. It is involved in blood clotting and helps in the transmission of stimuli by muscles and nerves, intracellular signal transmission and the stabilization of cell membranes. Calcium is responsible for the function of muscles and nerves. A deficiency of calcium can lead to muscle cramps.
The regulation of the acid-base balance is also regulated to a large extent by calcium. If the pH value in the blood drops too far, calcium is broken down in the bones in order to balance the value. This prevents the blood from becoming acidic. The pH value regulates respiratory function and oxygen transport by the blood cells. As a so-called co-factor, calcium is also involved in many enzymatic reactions in the body.
Calcium is important for the body. Especially pregnant women, adolescents, women before and after menopause, children in growth phases, elderly people and people with lactose intolerance have an increased calcium requirement. These groups of people should pay particular attention to an adequate calcium intake.
According to the D-A-CH reference values, the recommended daily intake for adults is 1000 mg of calcium per day. Adults are defined as persons between 25 and 51 years of age. The same recommendations apply to pregnant women and nursing mothers. For children between 10 and 13 years of age, 1100 mg per day is recommended. For adolescents between 13 and 19 years, an intake of 1200 mg of calcium per day is recommended.
Milk and dairy products are good sources of calcium. Hard cheeses such as Parmesan, Emmental and Gouda are particularly rich in calcium, as are soft cheeses such as Brie, Camembert and Mozzarella. But some vegetables, such as broccoli and arugula, are also good sources of calcium. Nuts, especially Brazil nuts and hazelnuts, are also good sources of calcium. Mineral water with a calcium content of at least 150 mg/l also provides the body with a good amount of calcium.
To make it easier for the body to absorb calcium and to distribute the required amount throughout the day, it is recommended to eat calcium-rich foods throughout the day. This makes it easier for the body to utilize calcium.
Some substances such as oxalic acid and phytates can inhibit the absorption of calcium. However, these substances occur in food in such small amounts that it does not harm the absorption of calcium in the daily diet.
Symptoms of calcium deficiency include bone and tooth problems. However, muscle cramps, shortness of breath, increased blood loss from even the smallest wounds, and acidified blood are also indicative of calcium deficiency. However, these symptoms occur extremely rarely in connection with a calcium deficiency. Common, especially long-term symptoms of calcium deficiency are sleep disturbances, eczema and dry skin, hair loss and brittle fingernails, susceptibility to tooth decay, cataracts, incontinence and diarrhea, obesity and difficulty in losing excess weight.
So-called hypercalcemia, an elevated calcium level, should be discussed with a physician. Overdosing through food intake is virtually impossible. An increased calcium level can occur due to an excessive amount of calcium in the form of dietary supplements or an increased amount of vitamin D. Some diseases can also lead to increased calcium levels.
Hypocalcemia, a calcium level that is too low, can result from an unbalanced diet, among other things. Calcium deficiency, however, can also be caused by poor absorption of calcium in the intestines or increased excretion of calcium. The body depends on a balanced blood calcium level. When there is a deficiency of calcium, the body compensates for it. Since the greatest amount of calcium is present in the bones, the balance is achieved by releasing calcium from the bones.
Calcium requirements cannot always be adequately covered by food. Dietary supplements can help to supply the body with the required amount of calcium. Especially for risk groups, the intake of calcium via dietary supplements is therefore recommended. Browse our products in the category “Calcium” and find the right product for you. To cover your calcium needs, you will find in our store, for example, the Vitality Shot.