The importance of calcium

Most of us are aware of the importance of vitamins. But do you ever wonder if you’re getting enough minerals? Today I want to look at one of the most important minerals, and one that we’re often not getting enough of.

Calcium is a most essential mineral. Maybe you’ve heard that you don’t need much calcium until you’re much older, but if you wait it may be too late to heal the damage on your body.

Bones are the strongest tissue in the body. Getting enough calcium and vitamin D is essential for building strong, dense bones when we are young, and keeping them strong and healthy as we age.

About 99 percent of our body’s total calcium storage is found in bones and teeth. Bones protect important organs, and also store minerals (calcium, potassium, magnesium and phosphate) for human health.

Calcium is also required for proper functioning of the heart, muscles and nervous system and it plays an important role in maintaining normal blood pressure and reducing other problems such as food cravings.

Some symptoms of calcium deficiency include numbness or tingling of the fingers, muscle cramps, poor appetite, insomnia, brittle nails or joint pain.

Calcium plays an important role in maintaining the structural integrity of our skeleton, but other nutrients provide necessary support in helping to absorb and use it, including vitamin D, vitamin K, and magnesium.

Like muscle, bone is a living tissue that responds to exercise by becoming stronger. So while I do believe that we all need bone strength supplementation, we also need exercise, correct nutrition and eating calcium rich foods such as tofu, white beans, canned salmon, sardines, dark green leafy veggies and yogurt.

The recommended daily allowance for calcium is around 1,000-1,200mg. Unfortunately, most people are not consuming enough nutrient dense food, so taking supplements is essential to support our bodies. Maintaining the calcium level with correct nutrition and supplementation is especially important for preventing osteoporosis.

There are many forms of calcium and magnesium supplements. When choosing I recommend to check that the label states “purified” or has the USP (United States Pharmacopeia) symbol, which denotes that the USP has tested and found it to meet certain standards for purity and quality. I suggest asking your doctor or nutritionist which is the best for you.

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Ayda Ersoy is a personal trainer, nutrition consultant and yoga instructor. She can be reached at www.AydaErsoy.com and www.DietDocHawaii.com

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