is a substance that the body uses for many functions, particularly
building strong bones and teeth. Calcium is also required
for blood to clot properly when bleeding occurs. Normally,
the body stores calcium in bones, but when there is insufficient
calcium intake, and levels of calcium in the blood drop, calcium
is drained from the bones to replenish blood levels. This
can retard bone growth in children or cause brittle bones
in adults (see osteoporosis).
Other symptoms of severe calcium deficiency can include dental
problems, excessive bleeding, heart problems and irritability.
Good sources of dietary calcium dairy products
(milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream), canned salmon and sardines,
broccoli, tofu, almonds and figs, as well as calcium-fortified
products such as calcium-fortified orange juice.
In order for the body to absorb and use
calcium, other substances need to be present in the blood
as well. Vitamin D
is one substance which helps the body absorb calcium and deposit
it in the bones. Without vitamin D, calcium may simply be
passed out of the body in urine.
by Catherine E. Myers. Copyright © 2006 Memory Loss and the Brain
There are a great many calcium supplements available on the
market today, and they vary widely in effectiveness and in
how easily the particular form of calcium is absorbed into
the body. If you do decide to take supplements, be sure you
know what you're getting. When starting any dietary supplement,
talk to your doctor to make sure that there is no conflict
with other medication or medical conditions. Excess calcium
in the body can cause serious medical problems including muscle
weakness, constipation, nausea and cardiac arrest.