Nutrition Glossary (cont.)
Recommended Daily Intake in Milligrams
Side Effects From Overdose
Blood sugar, high: Elevated levels of blood glucose (hyperglycemia) can be found in a number of conditions. The hyperglycemia leads to spillage of glucose into the urine, hence the term sweet urine. (Diabetes mellitus means "sweet urine.")
Blood sugar, low: The sugar here is glucose. Low blood glucose constitutes hypoglycemia . Hypoglycemia is only significant when it is associated with symptoms. It has many causes including drugs, liver disease, surgical absence of the stomach, pre-diabetes, and rare tumors that release excess insulin.
Breastfeeding: Feeding a child human breast milk. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, human breast milk is preferred for all infants. This includes even premature and sick babies, with rare exceptions. It is the food least likely to cause allergic reactions; it is inexpensive; it is readily available at any hour of the day or night; babies accept the taste readily; and the antibodies in breast milk can help a baby resist infections.
In breast milk, the amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) are well balanced for the human baby, as are the sugars (primarily lactose) and fats. The baby's intestinal tract is best aided in its digestion by the vitamins, enzymes, and minerals found in breast milk. Breastfed babies do eat more often than formula fed babies since breast milk is more quickly digested and leaves the stomach empty more frequently.
Exclusive breastfeeding is ideal nutrition and it is sufficient to support optimal growth and development for the first 6 months after birth, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Furthermore, it is recommended that breastfeeding continue for at least 12 months, and thereafter for as long as mutually desired. Infants weaned before 12 months of age should not receive cow's milk feedings, but should receive iron-fortified infant formula. See also: Breastfeeding practices; and Breast milk.
Calcium: A mineral found mainly in the hard part of bones. Bone is a storage area for calcium. Calcium is added to bone by cells called osteoblasts. It is removed from bone by cells called osteoclasts. Calcium is not just essential for healthy bones. It is also important for muscle contraction, heart action and normal blood clotting. A low blood calcium (hypocalcemia) makes the nervous system highly irritable with tetany (spasms of the hands and feet, muscle cramps, abdominal cramps, overly active reflexes, etc.). Food sources of calcium include dairy foods, some leafy green vegetables such as broccoli and collards, canned salmon, clams, oysters, calcium-fortified foods, and tofu. According to the National Academy of Sciences, adequate intake of calcium is 1 gram daily for both men and women. The upper limit for calcium intake is 2.5 grams daily.
Overly high intake of calcium (hypercalcemia) may cause muscle weakness and constipation, affect the conduction of electrical impulses in the heart (heart block) lead to calcium stones (nephrocalcinosis) in the urinary tract, impair kidney function, and interfere with the absorption of iron predisposing to iron deficiency.
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