Calcium deficiency and how to tackle it
Strong bones make for a healthy life and the mighty mineral “calcium” has a vital role to play in this. It is the most abundant mineral found in our body and almost 99% of it is stored in the bones and teeth.
But supporting good bone health is not all that it does..It is also important for the healthy functioning of nerves, hormone regulation, reducing blood pressure and maintaining a healthy heart. You thought that was it? Let me tell you, the health benefits of calcium goes beyond all of these and it certainly is critical for many important functions of our body.
WHAT IS CALCIUM DEFICIENCY?
If the body doesn’t receive enough calcium from the diet, then it is withdrawn from the bones which act as the “calcium bank” where most of it is stored. To cover these withdrawals, there has to be regular deposits because the bones will become weaker over time if calcium is constantly taken away from them to make up for the shortfall.
Unfortunately, there is a large percentage of people who are likely to be deficient in calcium and do not receive enough of it from their dietary intake. If left untreated, long-term calcium deficiency can lead to cataracts, dental health problems, brittle bones, chronic joint & muscle pain, depression, etc. Having said this, it is important to know that calcium deficiency is not always caused by diet, the other reasons might include – kidney disorders, use of certain drugs, removal of stomach, etc. People who have developed the condition of “hypoparathyroidism” are highly prone to calcium deficiency. This condition is directly linked to the blood calcium levels. Magnesium deficiency can also cause secondary deficiencies which include calcium deficiency too.
SIGNS OF CALCIUM DEFICIENCY?
Let’s have a look at the signs and symptoms of calcium deficiency which might show up when your calcium levels are low :
1. MUSCULE PROBLEMS
Calcium has an important role to play in muscle contraction and nerve signalling. That’s why when blood calcium levels are low in the body, one may experience –
- Frequent muscle cramps and spasms
- Numbness and tingling in hands or legs
- Pain in thighs or arms
Low levels of calcium in the body can cause muscle weakness and extreme fatigue. It is important to know that fatigue caused as a result of calcium deficiency can also lead to insomnia, dizziness, confusion, lack of focus and brain fogging.
3. BRITTLE NAILS AND SKIN CONDITIONS
Calcium deficiency can cause following –
- Dry skin
- Brittle or weak nails
- Itchy or dry patches on skin
- Hair fall in patches
4. ORAL HEALTH ISSUES
There is a direct connection between low calcium levels, tooth decay and cavities formation. Calcium deficiency can lead to following dental problems –
- Brittle teeth
- Weaker teeth roots
- Cavity formation
- Breaking down of enamel
- Dental erosion
When the body lacks calcium, it might contribute to the symptoms of depression and mood disorders. Anyone experiencing this symptom must consult a doctor who can check the condition properly and recommend an appropriate cure.
6. LOSS OF BONE DENSITY
Over time if the body does not have sufficient levels of calcium, it leads to reduction of mineral density in the bones which causes them to become thin and vulnerable to fractures. As we age, bone density naturally weakens because calcium deposits in the body are lost faster than they are stored.
It is a condition in which as a result of lack of calcium and Vitamin D, the bones become brittle, weak and are more likely to break easily. Osteoporotic bones have lost density, mass and contain abnormal tissue structure. It is a silent disease because this condition takes years to develop and breaking of bones is the first sign that someone might have developed osteoporosis. One may also experience height loss or upper back curving forward. If anyone develops this condition, it’s time to seek immediate medical advice.
CAUSES OF CALCIUM DEFICIENCY?
- Low calcium intake – the primary cause of calcium deficiency is low intake of calcium over a long period of time.
- Medications – certain prescription medications might interfere with your body’s ability to absorb nutrients thereby decreasing the calcium absorption.
- Dietary intolerance – people who have dairy allergies or lactose intolerance are more likely to develop calcium deficiency as they tend to miss out on a whole calcium rich food group.
- Age factor – the levels of calcium absorption decrease with age. Infants and young children are able to absorb calcium as much as 60% of what’s consumed by them. But the absorption rate slowly decreases once they reach adulthood.
- Hormonal changes – during menopause, the estrogen levels in the body decline as a result of which women lose bone density more rapidly. Low parathyroid hormone levels also impact your body’s calcium absorption ability.
MINIMUM DAILY CALCIUM REQUIREMENTS
For an average adult, the daily consumption must be around 1000mg per day.
For growing bones, it should be 1300 mg per day.
For women above 50 and anyone above 70, calcium intake should be 1200 mg on a daily basis.
HOW TO TACKLE CALCIUM DEFICIENCY
Now that we all know how calcium deficiency can adversely affect many critical roles in our body, it is imperative to ensure that we stay on the top of our calcium levels. The easiest way to prevent or treat calcium deficiency is “hitting your daily intake”. If you do not consume dairy products, you need not worry at all as there are some foods which do not contain even a drop of milk in them. Go through the following list of some calcium rich foods which you must eat as a part of your daily diet –
- Canned salmon
- Sesame seeds
- Fortified cereals
- Milk & Yogurt
- Soy milk
Recommendations of dietary calcium intakes are higher for people who are 51 and above. This is because the absorption of nutrients and minerals declines as one ages.
To ensure that you are getting enough calcium, you can also opt for supplements as they are the standard for treating and preventing its deficiency. Try Vogue Wellness “Calvog” capsules to maintain those optimum levels in your body. However, one must consult a doctor before starting to take any supplements. Not to forget that too much calcium intake can cause kidney stones, increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and other major health problems. Therefore these must be consumed only as per the recommended dosage.
Calcium injections may also be prescribed by the doctor if supplements and dietary improvements fail to give a significant result.
CRITICAL NUTRIENTS WHICH NEED TO BE TAKEN WITH CALCIUM
For optimum health benefits, there are other nutrients and vitamins which need to be consumed with Calcium. They are as follows :
- Magnesium – magnesium deficiency alters calcium metabolism and hormones that regulate calcium.
- Vitamin D – Vitamin D and Calcium are like good friends – together they work really well..Vitamin D boosts and aids in effective absorption of Calcium in the body.
- Vitamin K2 – this vitamin K2 moves the calcium deposits from your arteries to the bones. It has a vital role in regulating calcium deposition in the body.
Calcium is an essential mineral that does far more for your body than just boosting bone health. Its deficiency can result from a number of different factors including inadequate diet intake, medical treatments or health conditions as mentioned above. The best approach is to get calcium from natural food sources. Calcium supplements are also a good way to tackle its deficiency. However, one must never exceed the recommended amount as it can cause kidney stones, muscle weakness, increase the chances of stroke and heart attack and other serious health concerns.