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Healthy Diet Plans >>  Minerals >>  Calcium

Calcium deficiency leads to week bones

Calcium is the most common mineral seen in the teeth and bones and thereby comprises 2% of an individual’s weight. It monitors the contraction and relaxation functions of muscles. Calcium is required for nerve functions and coagulation of blood. It regulates the heart muscle. It also aids in enhancing enzyme function.
Research reveals that 70 per cent of children and majority of women fail to achieve the requirement. Decrease in blood calcium brings about a reduction in the urinary calcium levels.

Lack of calcium absorption from the digestive tract puts forth the removal from bones or bone degeneration. In course of time, it leads to fragile or brittle bones. Osteoporosis is a common problem faced by such individuals, possessing weak bones. Sources of calcium include soymilk, dairy products, fortified breakfast cereals and so on. Milk products, such as cheese, yoghurt, buttermilk and fortified milk provide a good amount of calcium. Green leafy vegetables possess a considerable amount of calcium, in spite of the high oxalate concentration. Sardines, salmon, almonds and sesame seeds are also good sources.  Calcium needs vary from each individual, being high in adolescents and growing children.  

Calcium requirements depend on the stage of life cycle. Infants on mother’s milk require around 270 mg per day, whereas, babies who are bottle-fed have a higher requirement of 350 mg, due to the inefficient calcium absorption from artificial feeds. 500 mg of calcium is required by children aged between 1-3 years. Needs increase in growing children and falls at 700 mg in 4-8 years and an estimated 1 gm in 9-11 years. Adolescents require more calcium, owing to the onset of puberty and growth spurt and range around 1.3 gm per day.
Osteoporosis and other bone complications can be avoided, by proper intake during adolescence and early adulthood. Bone mass increases, during this period. The requirement falls at 1 gm per day. A pregnant mother has an increased requirement, due to the growing fetus and is 1.3 gm per day, in the case of pregnant adolescent. In general, mother’s replace the deprived calcium, utilized by the growing fetus. Breastfeeding adolescents require 1,300 mg per day.

Bone loss or degeneration is common in senescence. Menopause in women calls for a greater calcium requirement. Compensating the bone losses is essential in both the genders, during the course of ageing process. Men above 70 years and women over 50 years require 1,300 mg per day. Calcium supplements are recommended as per the instructions on the bottle and are preferred, under the guidance of a physician. Requirement of supplements occur in those with increased risk of osteoporosis and those with a poor calcium diet.
Submitted on January 16, 2014