Right from day one, if there’s a food that an infant is fed, that is milk. Milk is a rich source of calcium, and the fact that this is a day one food, shows the importance of this mineral for humans. Calcium is one of the macro minerals very important for the bone and teeth health of human beings.
Calcium Deficiency Symptoms
Calcium when lacking in the body leads to weak and brittle bones resulting in osteopenia and osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is one of the main afflictions of women post menopause and is responsible for most of fall related traumatic injuries in elderly women. This is why pregnant, lactating, and elderly women need to ensure that they include the required amount of calcium in their diet.
Calcium deficiency also affects the teeth and the immune system, leads to improper function of the nervous system, and sudden fluctuations in blood pressure.
Calcium Overdose Symptoms
Women require about 1000 mg of calcium as part of their daily intake if they are below 50 years and 1200 mg if they are above 50 years. However, overdose of calcium can cause nausea, dry mouth, belly pain, irregular heartbeat, confusion, to mention a few.
Regulation of calcium metabolism also is very important. Four parathyroid glands, which are like rice grains and reside just behind the thyroid gland in our neck, along with vitamin D are responsible for regulating the calcium metabolism in our body. When they don’t function properly, calcium is leached out of the bones and over a period of few years results in osteoporosis. The leached calcium, being free and excess in the blood and urine, clogs arteries causing coronary diseases and in due course affects our kidneys as well. Therefore, it is important to monitor the calcium metabolism carefully if a person has the stones, bones, groans, moans, and thrones symptoms. These symptoms indicate kidney stones, body pain, abdominal discomfort, other non-specific symptoms, and constipation and frequent urination. There are quite a few people suffering from hypo (less) or hyper (excess) calcemia (calcium) due to either the disease of the parathyroid or other problems like cancer.
In India alone 25 million are suffering from calcium related diseases.
Natural Sources of Calcium
Calcium is quite abundantly present in natural vegetable sources such as broccoli, mustard and moringa greens, cauliflower, green chili, legumes like green peas, bean, and animal sources like sardines, salmons, cheese, milk, eggs, etc,. Quinoa is also a great source of calcium.
Artificial Sources of Calcium
Canned milk and milk products and fish with bones, soyamilk, etc, are few off the counter artificial sources of calcium. Calcium carbonate, tums, rolaids, calcium citrate are available as calcium supplements. People with low levels of stomach acid secretion, should avoid artificial supplements, as they may damage the stomach.
Blood and Bone Mineral Density Tests
If you or your children or older family members face any of the above symptoms of hypo or hyper calcemia, it is advisable to go for a blood test to understand the level of calcium in blood, a 24 hour urine collection test to find out the levels of urine calcium and also bone mineral density test at least once a year for early detection and treatment of calcium related disorders.
So next time you complain about the taste of milk, just think of all the calcium you are saying no to.