Anda di halaman 1dari 11




Calcium is an essential bulk mineral. It makes up bones and teeth and is essential
for the transmission of information along the nerves and is used in the
contraction of muscles. The importance of the right calcium balance for the
maintenance of health can not be overestimated.
Functions of calcium
Calcium is essential to:
maintaining total body health,
normal growth and development,
keeping your bones and teeth strong over your lifetime( they contain 99% of
the body's calcium, the remaining 1% is in blood),
ensuring the proper functioning of muscles and nerves,
keeping the heart beating,
helping blood clotting and regulating blood pressure,
metabolising iron,
the action of a number of hormones (particularly those associated with the thyroid and
parathyroid glands),
cell structure, and
absorbing vitamin B12.
Calcium also prevents muscle or leg cramps in some people.

Requirements are greatest during childhood, adolescence, pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Some experts suggest that elderly persons should take as much as 1500
mg/day to help prevent osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a common condition in which bones become
weak and fracture easily, due to a loss of bone density.


0-6 months 210

7-12 months 270

1-3 years 500
4-8 years 800
9-13 years 1300
14-18 years 1300
19-30 years 1000
31-50 years 1000
50-70 years 1200
>70 years 1200
9-13 years 1300
14-18 years 1300
19-30 years 1000
31-50 years 1000
50-70 years 1200
>70 years 1200
<19 years 1300
19-30 years 1000
31-50 years 1000
<19 years 1300
19-30 years 1000
31-50 years 1000

Food sources
Some of the main sources of calcium in American diets are dairy products. It has been estimated
that as much as 75% of the calcium consumed in the U.S. comes from these sources. However,
many people in the world are unable to digest milk and other dairy products due to a condition
called lactose intolerance. In lactose intolerant individuals, not enough of the enzyme lactase is
produced, the enzyme needed to break down lactose. Lactose is the sugar found in milk. Most of
the races in the world, especially those where dairy products have never been a part of the native
diets for long periods, are lactose intolerant.
Approximately 70 - 90 percent of adults of Asian, African, Native American and Mediterranean descent are lactose
intolerant. People who are lactose intolerant, or who for other reasons do not consume dairy products, have a
number of other options for getting calcium. These include:
Non dairy sources of calcium such as legumes, leafy green vegetables, tortillas made with limestone, tofu,
nuts, seeds, peas and lentils and foods where the bones are consumed, such as sardines and salmon.
Lactose reduced milk.
Dairy with lactase supplements.
Smaller portions of dairy products as the body allows. Yogurt with live cultures and aged cheeses are sometimes
better tolerated than other dairy products such as milk.
Calcium supplements.
Some of the indications of calcium deficiencies include skeletal abnormalities, such as osteopenia,
osteomalacia, osteoporosis and rickets.
Osteomalacia is a failure to mineralize the bone matrix, resulting in a reduction of the mineral content of the
bone. In children, osteomalacia is known as rickets. When children have rickets, their bones become soft and
flexible, bending in ways normal bones would not. Features of rickets include bowed legs, beaded ribs, large
foreheads, sunken chests (pectus excavatum), protruding chests (pectus carnitum) and hyperextendable joints.
Osteopenia is the presence of less than normal amount of bone. Osteopenia, if not treated, may result in
Osteoporosis occurs when the composition of the bone is normal, but the mass is so reduced that the
skeleton loses its strength and becomes unable to perform its supporting role in the body. In this case,
fractures may occur due to minor falls and bumps, or bones may even break under their own weight.
People with osteoporosis may have a hump in their backs, scoliosis (curvature of the spine), kyphosis
(rounded shoulders) or lose height. These conditions may be caused by the buckling of their weakened
spines, no longer being strong enough to hold the body upright.
The bones act as a reservoir for calcium. When the amount of calcium in the blood supply dips too
low, calcium is borrowed from the bones. It is returned to the bones from calcium supplied through
the diet. When diets are low in the mineral, there may not be sufficient amounts available to be
returned to the bones. Over time, this net loss can lead to osteopenia or osteoporosis.
Other symptoms of calcium deficiency include:
premenstrual cramps, and
hypertension (high blood pressure).
Low calcium intakes have also been linked to premature births and some forms of cancer, including
colon and breast cancer.
Calcium is essential for many functions in the body.

Most of it is used for building and maintaining strong bones and teeth, and healthy
gums. Calcium in bones needs to be continually replaced, which is why proper levels
of calcium are needed throughout life. In fact the need for this mineral increases
with age, as the body becomes less efficient at absorbing it from food.

Bone mass - the amount of mineral in bones - increases through childhood and early
adulthood till it reaches peak bone mass at some point between the ages of 25 to 40,
after which it declines. The higher this peak, the longer it takes for severe bone loss
to set in. It is therefore important to consume enough calcium and vitamin D in
childhood and early adulthood, to achieve greater peak bone mass.

Calcium is also needed for other vital processes. It has a role in regulating various
body functions, including the cardiovascular and nervous systems, muscle
contraction, enzyme activity, and cell membrane function.
Since these functions are critical to life, the body tries to make calcium always
available by regulating blood calcium levels. It does so by drawing calcium from
bones into blood whenever dietary intake of it is insufficient to maintain enough
calcium in the blood. However such continual leaching of calcium from bones, over
time, can lead to osteoporosis.
1. major component of, and vital for strong bones, cartilage, muscle, and
2. slows rate of bone loss linked to osteoporosis
3. slows down tooth loss in older people from the jaw bone becoming too
weak to hold teeth firmly in place; helps prevent gingivitis in children

4. protects bones and teeth from lead by inhibiting absorption of the toxic
5. needed for muscle contraction and relaxation; prevents muscle cramps

6. plays a vital role in transmission of nerve impulses

7. important for blood clotting
8. helps regulate passage of nutrients across cell walls
9. needed for normal heartbeat
10 needed for blood vessel expansion and contraction, and helps regulate
. blood pressure
11 some research shows that calcium supplements can help reduce blood
. cholesterol levels
12 there is some evidence that calcium supplements can reduce the risk of
. colon cancer
13 activates several enzyme systems needed for biochemical processes in the
. body
14 supplementing with calcium appears to help relieve symptoms linked with
. Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
15 anecdotal evidence that calcium alleviates insomnia