Calcium is one of the most fundamental mineral constituent of the human body, and therefore, it extremely important in the everyday functioning of the body. Therefore, deficiency of this mineral can cause extreme health problems in an individual, irrespective of their age. For instance, the most extreme effect of calcium deficiency in an individual can manifest itself in the form of a heart attack.
Today, we take a brief look at what calcium deficiency can do to the body, how to detect calcium deficiency and how to prevent it. But before we do that, we need to understand why we need calcium in the human body at all.
Why do we need calcium?
Calcium is the building block of bones and cartilage in the human system. Calcium maintains bone strength and helps prevent them from osteoporosis. Besides, calcium is an important part in many acid reflux drugs, because they maintain the body’s homeostasis and regulate the amount of other minerals like magnesium and potassium in the blood. Apart from this, calcium is extremely important for women because it supposedly lowers chances of breast cancer in menopausal women and helps control Pre Menstrual Syndrome (PMS) as well as menstrual cramps in menstruating women.
What is calcium deficiency?
Calcium deficiency is the phenomenon when your body does not the required amount of calcium. As a result, the bones begin to weaken and osteoporosis develops. If this goes on for a considerable period of time, the affected individual also starts to suffer from muscle spasms, back pains, and in extreme cases, heart attacks.
Now, calcium deficiency can occur in mainly two ways. The first and the most obvious one is due to a lack of enough intake of calcium in a person’s everyday dietary plan and supplements. This is generally rectified by doctors by recommending a well-balanced, calcium rich meal plan as well as suggestion of strong supplements.
The second reason for calcium deficiency is that in spite of the person ingesting calcium supplements and calcium rich food, their body is unable to utilize it. A recent study has shown that this is the most common form of calcium deficiency found in patients. As a result, the body begins to deplete the natural calcium storage, which are the bones. Gradually, as the bones are leeched off of their calcium deposition, they begin to weaken over time.
How can you know if you suffer from calcium deficiency?
There are a few Calcium deficiency symptoms which are tell-tale signs of lack of enough amount of this mineral in your blood, such as:
• Sleeping problems: Calcium content is vital in your sleep cycle. In fact, calcium levels rise and fall during the time that a person is asleep. If the calcium level in your blood is not enough, then chances are that you will suffer from irregular sleeping patterns, light sleeping or even bouts of insomnia. This can also be chalked up to the fact that calcium is extremely vital in the production of melatonin in the human body – the hormone responsible for controlling sleeping patterns. Of course, more studies need to be done in this area, but nonetheless, sleeping problems are tell-tale calcium deficiency symptoms.
• Fragile bones: As one of the most common results of calcium deficiency, calcium is leached from the bones to compensate for the lack of it in the blood. This leaves the bones fragile and with small holes in them, resulting in osteoporosis. As a result of this, the bones become fragile and susceptible to damage. You can understand this from the fact that you suffer from prolonged pain of your shoulders, lower back, arms etc. as well as easily broken or fractured bones at the slightest injuries.
• Muscle spasm: Also known as paresthesia, it manifests itself in a number of ways. Calcium is important for the proper functioning of the neurons and muscle fibers. Therefore, when the body does not enough calcium to function, the muscles and the central nervous system develop problems, which can manifest in the form of prolonged muscle pains, numbness of the arms and legs, a tingling sensation, or even loss of the feeling of touch at the tips of the fingers. Problems of the Central Nervous System (CNS) involve memory loss, confusion and hallucination.
• Brittle nails and teeth: Calcium is also a very important element in the formation and maintenance of nails and teeth. Therefore, when a person suffers from lack of calcium in their body, it also shows itself in the easy breaking of nails, the lack of growth of nails over time, loss of teeth or the easy chipping away of the teeth, or even deep tooth decay.
• Problem in losing weight: Believe it or not, fat storing cells also have a calcium content in them. Now, this calcium helps regulate the process of storing as well as burning of fat in the body. It has been revealed that fat cells with the highest calcium content in them are actually effective in burning or metabolizing fat faster. Therefore, if there is not enough calcium in your system, chances are that no matter how much you work out or how strict of a fat free diet that you follow, you will have an extremely difficult time shedding all those extra pounds around the waistline.
What are the natural sources of calcium?
You may have visited your doctor with regards to your calcium deficiency and they may have recommended a calcium rich diet. Wondering what some calcium rich foods are? Take a look at the list below and try to incorporate them into your dietary meal plan on a regular basis.
• Dairy products: This is a no brainer. Dairy products like milk, cheese and yogurt are perhaps the richest sources of calcium for human consumption. However, they also contain a certain amount of fat, which is why people tend to shy away from them. A very good idea is to incorporate fat free or low fat yogurt, low fat cheese and double toned milk into your diets. Try to eat at least one dairy product every day.
• Broccoli: Leafy green vegetables, especially broccoli are rich sources of calcium. A study has revealed that broccoli not only gives you enough calcium, but is also very high in the content of Vitamin C. Apart from this, there is a belief in the scientific community that diets rich in broccoli can reduce the chances of developing a certain few types of cancer in the future.
• Orange: We all know that citrus fruits like oranges are very good sources of Vitamin C, which help with teeth and nail health. Apart from this, they also happen to be very good sources of calcium and very high in antioxidants which act as natural blood purifiers. Instead of orange juice, try to eat oranges with their fibers.
• Salmon: Not just omega 3 fatty acid, salmon is also a very good powerhouse of calcium. However, finding fresh salmon can be extremely difficult as they are very costly. Canned salmon is a very good alternative to fresh caught salmon too.
• Almonds: Rich in calcium as well as Vitamin E, almonds are very good for preventing the chances of developing heart disorders as well. But people avoid eating almonds because of their fat content. However, the almond fat is the good kind of fat, which helps lower the bad cholesterol in your system.
• Collard: Collard, the leafy green vegetable is perhaps the richest source of Vitamin E, apart from calcium, which helps maintain the health of your eyes as you age, as well prevent the early onset of cataract. Try to cook collard with non-fat products like butter, bacon or other red meat.
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