Calcium Compounds - Nutrition

Nutrition

Recommended adequate intake by the IOM for calcium:
Age Calcium (mg/day)
0–6 months 200
7–12 months 260
1–3 years 700
4–8 years 1000
9–18 years 1300
19–50 years 1000
51–70 years (male) 1000
51–70 years (female) 1200
71+ years 1200

Calcium is an important component of a healthy diet and a mineral necessary for life. The National Osteoporosis Foundation says, "Calcium plays an important role in building stronger, denser bones early in life and keeping bones strong and healthy later in life." Approximately 99 percent of the body's calcium is stored in the bones and teeth. The rest of the calcium in the body has other important uses, such as some exocytosis, especially neurotransmitter release, and muscle contraction. In the electrical conduction system of the heart, calcium replaces sodium as the mineral that depolarizes the cell, proliferating the action potential. In cardiac muscle, sodium influx commences an action potential, but during potassium efflux, the cardiac myocyte experiences calcium influx, prolonging the action potential and creating a plateau phase of dynamic equilibrium. Long-term calcium deficiency can lead to rickets and poor blood clotting and in case of a menopausal woman, it can lead to osteoporosis, in which the bone deteriorates and there is an increased risk of fractures. While a lifelong deficit can affect bone and tooth formation, over-retention can cause hypercalcemia (elevated levels of calcium in the blood), impaired kidney function and decreased absorption of other minerals. Several sources suggest a correlation between high calcium intake (2000 mg per day, or twice the U.S. recommended daily allowance, equivalent to six or more glasses of milk per day) and prostate cancer. High calcium intakes or high calcium absorption were previously thought to contribute to the development of kidney stones. However, a high calcium intake has been associated with a lower risk for kidney stones in more recent research. Vitamin D is needed to absorb calcium.

Dairy products, such as milk and cheese, are a well-known source of calcium. Some individuals are allergic to dairy products and even more people, in particular those of non Indo-European descent, are lactose-intolerant, leaving them unable to consume non-fermented dairy products in quantities larger than about half a liter per serving. Others, such as vegans, avoid dairy products for ethical and health reasons.

Many good vegetable sources of calcium exist, including seaweeds such as kelp, wakame and hijiki; nuts and seeds like almonds, hazelnuts, sesame, pistachio; blackstrap molasses; beans (especially soy beans); figs; quinoa; okra; rutabaga; broccoli; dandelion leaves; kale. In addition, for some drinks (like soy milk or orange juice) it is typical to be fortified with calcium.

Numerous vegetables, notably spinach, chard and rhubarb have a high calcium content, but they may also contain varying amounts of oxalic acid that binds calcium and reduces its absorption. The same problem may to a degree affect the absorption of calcium from amaranth, collard greens, chicory greens. This process may also be related to the generation of calcium oxalate.

An overlooked source of calcium is eggshell, which can be ground into a powder and mixed into food or a glass of water.

The calcium content of most foods can be found in the USDA National Nutrient Database.

Read more about this topic:  Calcium Compounds

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