Calcium deficiency is a plaguing issue, majorly affecting women and children. Not only does calcium deficiency compromise the health of your teeth and bones, but also it increases the risk of hypertension, abnormal heartbeat, dementia, and even convulsions.
While insufficient calcium causes health disorders, it is important to understand its causes, symptoms, and definitely the remedies. Through the current series of posts, we will focus on calcium requirements for the human body and how to fulfill them in a natural manner through diet and lifestyle. This specific article would focus on understanding calcium deficiency.
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body
As within nature, Calcium indeed is one of the most widely present minerals in our body. While only 1% of it is present in the extracellular bodily fluids or plasma; 99% of the Calcium present in our body stays in deposited from inside the bones and the teeth.
Levels of Calcium present in the plasma guide the overall balance of this very important mineral in the body. As soon as the body realizes that plasma Calcium levels are declining, it will instruct the usage of bone deposits to maintain the plasma level. Hence, it is vital to focus on dietary Calcium intake.
Calcium absorption and excretion from the body
Calcium is absorbed in the small intestines with the aid of vitamin D and it is excreted from the body primarily through the kidneys with only small quantities getting out through fecal matter. Calcium present in the plasma is essential for the harmonious functioning of bodily systems such as:
- Nervous signal transmissions
- Blood clotting and circulation
- The functioning of soft tissues and muscles
Calcium Deficiency can occur in two ways
Dietary Calcium Deficiency
Dietary calcium deficiency exists due to less calcium intake than required by the body. This disorder specifically is related to a diet that lacks essential nutrients, specifically Calcium.
In this case, since our body is not getting enough per its needs, it’s natural stored calcium within the bones starts to deplete. As a result, the bones begin to weaken and become thin at an alarming rate.
Dietary calcium deficiency can also lead to Osteoporosis, a disease of the bones that triggers bone degeneration, a ‘humped’ back, an increased risk of fractures, and multiple other serious concerns.
Symptoms of Dietary Calcium Deficiency
- Back or neck pain
- Bone pain or tenderness
- Bone fractures resulting from minor or no trauma
- Loss of height
- Stooped or humped posture
Hypocalcemia indicates low levels of calcium in the blood. Hypocalcemia is caused by certain medications or even medical conditions like hypoparathyroidism.
Hypocalcemia is particularly concerning as the body will readily pull Calcium from the bones in the event of a blood calcium deficiency to support the proper function of the brain, heart, nerves, and muscles.
Symptoms of Hypocalcemia
- Muscle cramps
- Poor appetite
- Large bruised areas
- Bleeding under the skin that looks like tiny red dots
Major symptoms of Calcium Deficiency
Poor bone density
Bone density increases till the age of 30 years, after which it either plateaus or winds down. Should your diet be deficient in Calcium, your body will make it up from the existing deposit of bones or may not have enough to deposit on the bones for regular maintenance.
Poor bone density is a serious health condition, specifically for children as it can lead to easy fractures, muscular aches, and spasms, and – in extreme cases – rickets.
Weak and brittle nails
Our nails require adequate Calcium levels to grow in a healthy manner, for their strength, soften nail ridges, and for ingrown nails. Weak and brittle nails indicate a deficiency of Calcium in the body.
Late signs of puberty
In the case of adolescent females, late achievement of puberty is a major sign of calcium deficiency. Apart from delayed puberty in teens, menstruation-related problems are also signs of deficiency of calcium in the body. Many teens suffer from premenstrual cramps due to the deficiency of calcium.
Phosphorus, Calcium, and Vitamin D are essential in protecting the teeth and gums in adults and for the growth of teeth in young ones. Calcium accounts for nearly 70% of each tooth and makes it one of the densest body parts. Calcium deficiency leads to tooth decay and cavities. It can even delay tooth formation in toddlers.
Muscle cramps are termed a sudden and uncomfortable contraction of muscles leading to highly localized pain. Calcium is required for proper muscle functioning including muscle contraction and conduction. Additionally, Magnesium an essential mineral helps maintain right muscle electric potential. Magnesium is also required for the absorption and transportation of Calcium within the body. Muscle cramps, especially those of the thighs, arms, and underarms while moving and walking indicate serious deficiencies of Magnesium and Calcium within the body.
Another troubling yet difficult to ignore symptom from the deficiency of Calcium in the body is insomnia. Calcium is essential for the production and maintenance of natural hormones Melatonin and Serotonin through the conversion of an essential amino acid Tryptophan.
Both Melatonin and Serotonin are neurotransmitters that slow down nerve transmissions, hence relaxing brain and body and encouraging deep sleep.
Calcium, Phosphorus, and Iron work together to build the body. However, deficiencies of these vital minerals cause serious health concerns. Future articles in our Calcium series would deal with the causes of calcium deficiency and how to boost your calcium levels naturally.
Nutrition and Osteoporosis