Not only is Calcium used by the body in the formation of bone and teeth, it is also involved in blood clotting, nerve conduction, muscle contraction, enzyme regulation, and cell membrane permeability.
Long-term deficiency may result in rickets in children, and osteoporosis, high blood pressure, colon cancer, and obesity in adults. Short-term deficiency, characterized by low blood levels of Calcium may result in tetany with the symptoms of intermittent muscle contractions that fail to relax, muscle pain, muscle spasms, and numbness or tingling in the hands and feet.
Vitamin D improves and regulates the amount of Calcium that is absorbed from our food. Some fibers, oxalic acid, and phytic acid reduce absorption and are found in spinach, rhubarb, Swiss chard, beets, celery, eggplant, greens, okra, squash, currants, berries, peanuts, tea, and cocoa. These foods are important sources of other nutrients, therefore let Calcium be a reminder that our diets require variety rather than a reason to avoid valuable foods.
Excellent sources of Calcium include dairy products and bones (found in some seafood items). Good sources of Calcium include turnip, mustard greens, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, peas, beans, lentils, carob, and dried fruits.
Self-supplementing of Calcium is not recommended, because Vitamins D and K2 play an important role in utilization and Calcium toxicity is possible. Toxicity leads to increased calcium in the arteries, which may lead to atherosclerosis, heart attack, and stroke. Increased consumption of plant-based food sources is safe and recommended. Use the “Contact Me” section to request more information about calcium supplements.
* This information is not intended to encourage self-supplementation. As you will read in individual nutrient content, self-supplementation can be unnecessary or even dangerous. I highly recommend micro-nutrient blood testing before choosing to take any supplements that are not whole-foods based.
Gropper SS, Smith JL, Groff JL. Advanced nutrition and human metabolism. 5th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth; 2009.
Mahan L, Escott-Stump S, Raymond J. Krauses's food and the nutrition care process. 13th ed. St. Louis, Missouri: Elsevier Saunders; 2012.
Linda Beeker, RDN
I love sharing the power of nutrition - a gift of God's design.