Vitamins And Minerals: What Is Calcium?

Getting enough vitamins and minerals? Find out about calcium and it's importance in the human body.

Calcium comes in many forms, and is a whitish substance which is a primary ingredient in things such as chalk, ivory, pearls, and bones. It is known as the fifth most common element in the earth's crust and is a primary mineral in the human body. almost 99% of the human body's calcium can be found in bones and teeth, but it also exists in body fluids such as blood plasma.

Calcium is known by many names: calcium carbonate, calcium gluconate, calcium caseinate, calcium citrate, and calcium phosphate to name a few. Calcium is a mineral that can be found in milk products, green leafy vegetables and sesame seeds. It can also be found in seaweed and sardines among other dietary sources.

Calcium affects the human body in many ways. It is known to help lower blood pressure, as well as to prevent osteoporosis, and colon cancer. Calcium also is an integral factor in maintaining the health of the immune system in the human body.

Even though it is so important to proper functioning of the human organism, calcium deficiency is not uncommon. Severe calcium deficiency often occurs in individuals who have thyroid disease, or medical problems with the parathyroid. The way deficiency occurs is that calcium and phosphorous form a delicate balance in the body. When this balance is upset, typically calcium levels in the body fall and phosphorous levels rise. This imbalance causes the body to begin utilizing calcium from bones and teeth so that it can return the calcium-phosphorous balance. In severe calcium deficiency, bones can become weak and brittle and the body may have uncontrollable muscle spasms of seizures. Another common, but less severe, sign of calcium deficiency is continued cramping in the muscles of the calves.

Recommended intakes of calcium vary, but the common agreement among professionals seems to be between 1,000 to 1,500 milligrams daily. Of course, before starting any form of supplementation you should consult your health care practitioner.

© High Speed Ventures 2011