Calcium is one of the most talked about minerals and its benefits are quite well-known. Lot has been said about the sources of calcium and the health issues caused because of its deficiency, but there are still many facts about this vital mineral that are not much known. Here are the 7 key facts about this mineral that you didn’t know!
- Calcium is derived from limestone, marble, and chalk
Calcium is not found in the pure form and it is usually extracted from various sources like marble, limestone, and chalk. This mineral stands fifth amongst the elements that together make the earth’s crust. Your body gets this mineral naturally from various food sources but it can be consumed in the supplement form too for maintaining bone, joint, and muscle health. This element gets attached to various other elements and form compounds. For e.g. calcium citrate, calcium carbonate, calcium sulfate, and similar other compounds. Though this mineral is present in earth’s crust in abundance, you cannot directly consume it and hence proper diet is important to regulate its quantity as per your daily need.
- Vegetable sources of calcium offer better absorption of this mineral compared to milk
Milk is the major source of calcium and mostly more of milk is recommended in order to fulfill the calcium needs of body. Infants and toddlers may find this source of calcium convenient but those who can eat veggies may explore other sources too. As per the research carried out on absorption of calcium from various sources, it was found that only 32.1% calcium from milk was absorbed in the body while 40.9% of calcium from kale, the vegetable source of this mineral was absorbed. Broccoli is also rich source of calcium and one may include the calcium rich veggies in the diet along with milk to maximize the absorption of this mineral.
- Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption
Consuming lot of calcium without having enough vitamin D would not be beneficial at all. Vitamin D plays a significant role in calcium metabolism. Calcium absorption is supported by hormone called “calcitriol” that is the active form of vitamin D. When your body is vitamin D deficient, it will automatically affect the calcitriol levels and hence reduce the calcium absorption. Vitamin D is not much present in food, but exposure to sunlight would provide your body with sufficient amount of this vitamin.
- High level of sodium and protein may flush out calcium
Balanced diet is the right blend of all minerals, vitamins, and proteins, but still there are certain nutrients that would affect the calcium levels negatively. The high level of sodium and protein in your diet would flush out the calcium from your body by increasing the amount of calcium excretion via kidney. Those taking low calcium diet may avoid including higher amounts of protein and sodium in their diet to sustain the calcium levels.
Consumption of phosphorous rich soft drinks would also negatively affect calcium absorption. Animal protein and phosphorous are acidifying. The body has to use up calcium in order to neutralize the acids. This will bring down the calcium levels.
- Women loses more calcium at night when they are asleep
This may sound strange, but your body loses calcium at night. The parathyroid levels in the body are responsible for monitoring the calcium levels. Women don’t produce parathyroid (PTH) at night while men do. This is the reason why the calcium levels in women deplete when they sleep. This has been further confirmed in the study revealed by Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. Men may also lose some of their calcium stores during night but lesser than women.
- Role of calcium in our body is not just limited to bones
Calcium and bones have strong relationship. The consumption of calcium is mainly carried out for better bone and joint health, but this humble mineral offers many other health benefits too. The communication between brain and nerves is regulated well due to this mineral. It is required for proper functioning of nerves and muscles. The processes like vasoconstriction and vasodilation of blood vessels are mediated by calcium. This contraction and expansion of blood vessels would be instrumental in regulating blood and oxygen supply to other parts of the body. Insulin release is also aided by calcium.
- Calcium overdose may pose other health problems
Calcium is vital for our bodies but having this mineral beyond certain limit would cause other health problems. The small doses of calcium would be effectively absorbed in the body. It is recommended that calcium should be taken in doses of 500mg or less for proper absorption. Calcium carbonate and calcium citrate are common compounds found in the supplement but overconsumption would lead to other health problems as these compounds are not completely absorbed in your body.
Next time you reach out to your calcium supplement or calcium rich diet, keep the above 7 facts in mind for better absorption of this key mineral.