Hello and welcome to the start of the, in depth, series about all 7 essential macro elements as minerals.
In this series I´m going to explain:
- a special characteristic of the macro element
- what the specific macro element is
- what the demand is
- where you can get it (Top 5 foods)
- what the functions and benefits are
- what deficiency symptoms exist
- what overdose symptoms exist
- what else you may have to consider
So today, in part 1, we are going to start with the predominating macro element by weight, the Benefits of Calcium.
Why have we learned that Calcium is good for our bones?
Calcium is the most important macro element in our body by weight. It makes up to 1 – 2 % of our bodyweight. 99 % of the calcium is stored in our bones and teeth. They work as a calcium storage for us. If we don´t get enough calcium through our diet, the body will take it out of our bones. So a chronic deficiency of calcium in our diet can lead to bone loss.
So let´s make sure to have enough calcium in our nutrition so that we can benefit from strong bones to hold our body.
What is Calcium?
Calcium is an alkaline earth metal. It is the fifth most frequent element on our planet. As it is quite reactive, it mostly is found in compounds. Typical compounds are chalk, which is calcium carbonate, gypsum, which is calcium sulfate and calcium phosphate, which is a main component in our bones and teeth.
Calcium is alkaline, water-soluble and an essential macro element for us, as we have to get our amount through nutrition.
What is the demand of Calcium?
Depending on the age, health and lifestyle the daily demand for an average and healthy adult for calcium
is 800 – 1000 milligrams (mg) per day.
Where can you get Calcium from (Top 5 foods)?
Here are the Top 5 foods, which are rich in calcium:
1. Sango coral (up to 20.000 mg/100g),
2. Poppy (up to 2.500 mg/100g)
3. Hard cheese like parmesan (up to 1300 mg/100g)
4. Sesame (up to 800 mg/100g)
5. Mineral rich water (up to 60 mg/100ml)
Good other plant sources for calcium are nettles (up to 350mg/100g),
parsley and cale (up to 250mg/100g) and broccoli (up to 150 mg/ 100g).
Tip: Vitamin D supports the resorption of calcium.
What are the functions and benefits of Calcium?
As mentioned above, the main function of calcium is to maintain stable bones and teeth. It builds up bone substance. Moreover, it is very important for conducting signals in nerves and muscles. Calcium has an effect on our metabolism, specifically on the energy metabolism, the hormone balance and the acid-base balance. It provides strong cell walls and is responsible for a proper blood clotting.
What deficiency symptoms of Calcium exist?
A short-term deficiency of calcium is very rare, as our bones work as a calcium storage. Long-term symptoms caused by a lack of calcium can be as followed:
- osteoporosis (bone fragility in advanced age due to bone loss)
- fragile nails and dry hair, skin
- muscle cramps and sense disorders (also short-term symptoms)
Tip: Take calcium in several small quantities, not one big dose at once. This will help to improve the resorption.
What overdose symptoms of Calcium exist?
Surplus calcium normally is excreted through sweat, urine or feces. An overdose of calcium can cause the followed symptoms:
- gastrointestinal complaints
- muscle weakness
What else may you have to consider about Calcium?
The bigger the intake of calcium is, the smaller the resorption of it is.
There are several calcium-thieves. I´ll come up with four of them at this point.
Phosphate, which is found in many foods, can decrease the absorption of calcium in the gut and can increase the reduction of calcium in our bones. High amounts of phosphate are found in ready meals, fast food and meat.
If you lack calcium, you should take care of your consumption of spinach, swiss chard, beetroot and rhubarb, as they contain high amounts of oxalic acid, which can form unusable compounds with calcium.
The third important calcium-thief is salt. High quantities of it can increase the withdrawal of calcium from our digestive tract.
The fourth one is phytic acid. It serves plants like corn, soy and other pulses, wheat, rye and barley as a mineral storage, as it builds mineral compounds. The same can happen with minerals like calcium in our digestive tract. Phytic acid can be reduced through fermentation or for pulses through the process of soaking them before cooking them.
There is mineral water, which contains high amounts of calcium and other minerals. Look at the declaration. It is also called medicinal water.
Elementary calcium was first discovered and isolated by the English biochemist Humphry Davy in 1808.
The word calcium is originated from the Latin word “calx” and the Greek word “kalix”, which means lime or chalk.
Calcium is a very important essential macro element for our body, as it is the predominant mineral by weight and can make up more than one kg in our body. Our bones and teeth are the main storage of calcium (99%). Furthermore, calcium is indispensable in nerve transmission.
Now you have some useful information about calcium at hand about how much you need, where you can get it and what else is important to observe your calcium level.
In the next blog posts, we will have a closer look at the other essential macro elements.
Now to you. Was something new or interesting here for you or do you want to tell us something? Let us know in the comments.