Calcium is one of the most abundant elements on Earth, and it is the most abundant mineral in the human body. It has many important roles it performs like signaling biochemical processes in cells, controlling muscle contractions, initiating DNA synthesis, and building bones. The skeletal system houses 99% of the body's calcium and the other 1% circulates in the blood stream. Most adults get only half the amount of calcium they need daily. Calcium carbonate supplies 40% elemental calcium, compared to some other forms like calcium gluconate which only supplies 9%. Calcium cannot be absorbed without Vitamin D. This important mineral is essential for a healthy, functioning body.
How Calcium Works
Calcium maintains the integrity of the skeletal system, providing strength and structure to the bones and teeth. It plays a crucial role in coagulation of blood, generation and transmission of nerve impulses, the contraction of muscle fibers, and the activization of various enzymes and release of some hormones that regulate digestion and metabolism. It is essential for wound healing and maintenance of cell membranes.
The established RDA for calcium is 1000 - 1200 mg. It's important to remember that caffeine increases the loss of calcium through the kidneys and a light meal enhances calcium absorption better than an empty stomach. Symptoms of a calcium deficiency include agitation, hyperactiviy, nervousness and irritability, brittle fingernails, eczema, insomnia, high blood pressure, numbness and tingling, muscle cramps, lack of mental clarity, depression, heart palpitations, stunted growth, gum disease, tooth decay, and a prolonged deficiency may result in osteoporosis. It is considered safe to take up to 2500 mg, but side effects of too much calcium may prevent the body's absorption of zinc, iron, and magnesium. High dosages could lead to formation of kidney stones. Symptoms of toxicity may include loss of appetite, muscle weakness, inability to speak, poor balance, and various mental and emotional symptoms like depression and irritability.