Calcium broadly supports our connective tissue system, and with that, our bone structure and bone density. Today we will discuss the following:
- What Is Calcium?
- What Does Calcium Do in the Body?
- Where Does the Body Store Calcium?
- How Much Calcium Should You Take?
- What Are Common Sources of Calcium?
Keep reading to learn more about this abundant mineral and the ways it serves our holistic health and wellness.
What Is Calcium?
Calcium an essential macro mineral best known for its involvement in maintaining bone strength and density. It also supports the circulatory system, nervous system, and the musculature of the musculoskeletal system.
Where Does the Body Store Calcium?
The human body stores 99% in its bones. It fills collagen reservoirs to create our bones. Therefore, our bones are primarily composed of this mineral. The collagen- and calcium-combination creates the scaffolding of the human body—strong, flexible bones that support our physical endeavors.
The remaining 1% exists in controlled areas of the body. The parathyroid gland largely controls the amount of mineral released from bones to the broader body using homeostatic feedback loops—i.e., the body tells itself how much it needs to prevent deficiency or toxicity.
Calcium & Our Bodies
We often associate this mineral with bone health—understandably so! They human body stores 99% in its bones. But, in addition to supporting the bones and muscles in our musculoskeletal system, this mineral also supports essential functions in our circulatory and nervous systems. Though the list below is not exhaustive, it supports the following processes:
- Blood Clotting: binds to phospholipids, providing a surface for coagulation factors to assemble
- Bone Composition: mineral fills collagen reservoirs to create bones in developing bodies
- Central Nervous System: initiates and regulates responses from the CNS to injured tissue
- Dental Health: strengthens enamel on the outside of the teeth to discourage tooth decay
- Heart Rate: involved in heart contractions and sustained blood flow
- Muscle Contractions: calcium diffuses between myosin and actin to trigger muscle contractions
Always remember, calcium first contracts the heart—magnesium relaxes the heart. So, sufficiency matters.
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body—supporting our bones, muscles, and nerves—to support hundreds of body processes.
Daily Recommended Intake
You will find the daily recommended intake for average, healthy adults below:
|Daily Recommended Intake|
|Adult Males||1000 milligrams/day|
|Adult Females||1000 milligrams/day|
|Senior Males||1000 milligrams/day|
|Senior Females||1200 milligrams/day|
Senior females generally require more than adult males, adult females, and senior males because they go through menopause. Menopause lessens the amount of estrogen present in female bodies. Estrogen prevents bone resorption i.e., bone breakdown. Therefore, postmenopausal bodies require higher calcium intakes to counteract bone resorption caused by lowered estrogen levels.
If you have concerns about your individual calcium levels and recommended intake, reach out to your healthcare provider!
What Are Natural Sources?
We can consume this mineral through whole food diets. See common sources below:
Omnivorous foods provide large amounts of this mineral—primarily through milk-based products. If you cannot consume milk-based products, consider fortified plant-based alternatives e.g., fortified almond and oat milk. If you struggle to consume adequate amounts of essential minerals in your diet, consider supplementation!
Supplementation exists to close nutrient gaps. If you have concerns about your individual health as it pertains to calcium consumption and supplementation, reach out to your healthcare provider!
Calcium is an essential macro mineral best known for its involvement in maintaining bone strength and density. It also supports the circulatory system, nervous system, and the musculature of the musculoskeletal system.
- What Is It: most abundant mineral in the human body
- What Does It Do: supports bone composition and maintenance; support muscle contractions
- How Much Do I Need: average adult—1000mg/day & postmenopausal adult—1200mg/day
- Natural Sources: dairy-based products, fortified plant milk products, beans, chia seeds