Osteoporosis is one disease that women may get during menopause. However, the risk of getting the disease is lower when the body is properly nourished with the right amount of calcium it needs. The question is, what is calcium and how important is it for the body? Read more about the significance of calcium, how it works and where to get it.
What is Calcium?
Calcium is one of the most important minerals in the body. Even fetuses inside the womb are already in need of calcium, especially during the third trimester of mother’s pregnancy. The amount of calcium increases as a person grows, but when he or she reaches old age, calcium levels start to diminish naturally.
The Recommended Dietary Allowance or RDA for calcium is 1,000 mg/day. This is recommended for individuals who are between 4 and 70 years old. This is recommended for those who do not have any nutritional deficiencies that need to be supplemented.
A huge amount of Calcium, which could comprise to 99%, is found in the teeth and bones. In younger children, calcium is needed in the growth and development of the bones. It is what makes the bones and teeth strong in adults. However, it is not normally produced in the body. It is primarily sourced from the food that we eat. Below is a list of foods with calcium and their equivalent values.
|Food Sources||Amount||Equivalent Value of Calcium|
|Low-fat milk||1 cup or 245 grams||310 milligrams|
|Cabbage (Chinese)||1 cup or 70 grams||75 milligrams|
|Okra (cooked)||1 cup or 160 grams||120 milligrams|
|Almonds||1 cup or 143 grams||380 milligrams|
|Pink Salmon||3 ounces||180 milligrams|
|Broccoli (chopped)||1 cup or 91 grams||40 milligrams|
You can freely check other websites for a detailed learning about the food sources for Calcium.
Check out healthaliciousness for more relevant information about Calcium. This article by the NIH (National Institutes of Health) is also very informative.
How Calcium Works
When Calcium enters the body, it is stored mainly in the bones and some are deposited in the teeth. According to the Department of Medicine, it can also be found in the blood, in the brain, heart, and muscles. This makes it easy for the body to provide this mineral whenever it is needed.
Calcium in Menopause
For women in menopause, it is recommended to take 1,200mg of Calcium in a day. It could be from the food you eat or the beverages you drink. However, at times when the amount is not enough to reach the daily recommended value, supplements may be taken.
Menopausal women need more calcium because the body normally absorbs and stores lesser of it as it ages. One of the common problems that occur with menopause is osteoporosis. This is the condition where the bone structure becomes thinner. (Read more about osteoporosis here) The body will use its stored calcium in the bones to make sure bone repair and nourishment is maintained. However, there are times when the body has too few calcium left. If this happens, the body will need more calcium to maintain the health of the bones where diet and supplementation is needed.
The body will be able to detect if there is too few calcium count in the blood. The part of the body that is responsible for the its release in the blood is the parathyroid gland. The parathyroid gland will release the PTH or the parathyroid hormone. The PTH will send a signal to the bones that more Calcium is needed. At the same time, the PTH activates the Vitamin D in the body, which is responsible for better absorption of Calcium in the intestines.
Other Uses of Calcium
The University of Maryland Medical Center has given a list of health conditions that may be addressed with the help of Calcium supplementation. According to the list, aside from osteoporosis, it can also help in treating hypertension or increase blood pressure. This is also related to the management of stroke. It is also said that it can help in maintaining the body cholesterol in normal levels. Of course, it has to be paired with regular exercise and proper diet. Read more about the other uses of this mineral from this website.
Side Effects of Calcium
When there is normal calcium levels in your body, you can be assured that the mineral will work well in your system. However, if the amounts is extremely high or low compared to the normal calcium levels, which is 8.5 to 10.2 mg/dL as used commonly in laboratories, then it could cause some concerns. Some studies conducted about the effects of calcium said that it may increase the risk of heart attack if excessive amount is administered in the body. However, there is no official verification from government agencies about the side effects of calcium supplementation. More about the side effects can be read here.