Some calcium-rich foods include:
- Dairy sources:
- Vegan (nondairy) sources:
- Beans such as kidney beans, black beans, and navy beans
- Lentils such as red lentils, yellow lentils, and black gram
- Nuts such as almonds, Brazil nuts, pistachio, and hazelnuts
- Leafy greens such as spinach, kale, collard greens, beet greens, and Swiss chard
- Seeds such as chia seeds, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, and sesame seeds
- Certain gluten-free grains such as teff and amaranth
- Certain fruits such as figs, orange, blackcurrants, butternut squash, and berries
- Soybeans and soy products such as tofu, edamame, tempeh, and natto
- Seaweed such as kelp and wakame
- Blackstrap molasses
- Almond butter
- Sweet potato
- Fortified cereals, flour, juices, crackers, plant milk, and bread
- Other sources:
- Canned salmon
- Calcium supplements
What does calcium do in our body?
Calcium plays several important functions in the body. Some of the roles of calcium in our bodies include:
- Muscle function: Calcium is required for muscle contraction, whereas the release of calcium from the muscles helps them relax.
- Bone and teeth health: Calcium plays an important role in developing and maintaining healthy bones and teeth. Calcium deficiency can result in weak bones and teeth and may perturb proper development in infants and children.
- Heart function: Calcium is crucial for the proper functioning of the heart and maintenance of normal heart rhythm. Calcium may promote heart health by regulating blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
- Nerve function: Calcium is needed for nerve impulses that carry signals through and across nerve fibers.
- Blood pressure maintenance: Calcium is required for the maintenance of healthy blood pressure.
- Hormone release: Hormones regulate various crucial processes in the body. Calcium is needed for the release of hormones in the blood.
- Blood clotting: Calcium is crucial for blood clotting and minimizing blood loss.
How much calcium do you need in a day?
The amount of calcium you need in a day varies according to age and gender.
|Age group||Gender||The recommended amount per day (milligrams or mg)|
|Up to 6 months||Male||200|
|7 to 12 months||Male||260|
|1 to 3 years||Male||700|
|4 to 8 years||Male||1,000|
|9 to 13 years||Male||1,300|
|14 to 18 years||Male||1,300|
|19 to 50 years||Male||1,000|
|51 to 70 years||Male||1,000|
|71 years and older||Male||1,200|
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What are the signs of low calcium levels in the blood?
Low serum calcium levels (hypocalcemia) refer to serum calcium levels lower than 8.8 mg/dL (lower than 2.2 mmol/L).
Signs and symptoms of hypocalcemia may vary depending on the severity or how low the calcium levels are. Hypocalcemia may present differently in infants and children compared with adults. Mild hypocalcemia may not exhibit any signs and symptoms.
Some of the signs of hypocalcemia include:
- Muscle cramps or spasms
- Fatigue or weakness
- Osteoporosis in adults
- Rickets and osteomalacia in children
- Increased risk of fractures
- Reduced appetite
- Abnormal heart rhythm
- Poor dentition in children
- Seizures or other abnormal movements
- Dry skin
- Brittle nails
- Dry skin
- Skin rash (particularly psoriasis)
- Coarse hair
- Personality changes
- Memory impairment
A sudden decrease in blood calcium levels, also called acute hypocalcemia, may be a life-threatening condition that can result in the following:
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