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Calcium – more than just a building block for bones and teeth

# Micronutrients | 2. April 2018

Calcium is the fifth most common element on earth and it is everywhere: in water, in rocks, in soils and in living things. Over 99% of the calcium in your body is stored in your bones and teeth. Extra calcium is present in milk and dairy products, but some vegetables, such as kale, fennel or broccoli, as well as various nuts (almonds, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts) contain a lot of calcium. By rule of thumb you can say: leaves, stems / stalks, roots, and seeds. However, secondary phytochemicals, cooking and watering as well as fat and phosphorus can reduce the absorption of calcium in the body. In turn, vitamin D, some sugars (inulin, lactose) amino acids and fruit acids have a positive effect on its intake.

Although so widespread, calcium is poorly absorbed by all ages and is considered a “risk nutrient”! This can lead to far-reaching health consequences, such as osteoporosis.

Calcium in the intestine is actively channeled through the intestinal wall with the help of a calcium-binding protein and vitamin D, and then absorbed in the body and stored for the most part in the bones. It is best to take 500mg of calcium between meals to counteract bone loss or in the evening. There doesn’t seem to be any additional benefit to taking larger doses. What is very important for the absorption in the body is the calcium compound: calcium citrate is better absorbed than calcium carbonate, it also causes fewer stones in the kidneys and also neutralizes excess acids in the blood. Calcium also competes with iron, zinc and magnesium for absorption. If you are deficient in any of those minerals and also need to take calcium supplements, try taking them between meals. This way the calcium is less likely to inhibit the absorption of the zinc, iron and magnesium that you consume in your meals.

Our body needs calcium for:

  • Important for bone formation: if too little calcium is absorbed in adolescence, the risk of osteoporosis and broken bones in old age increases. Osteoporosis is one of the 10 most prevalent diseases in the world, according to WHO, and it affects most menopausal women and people over the age of 70. Sufficient calcium and vitamin D can help prevent bone fractures!
  • Preserves the bone density in the jaw: not only bones, but also teeth are strengthened by calcium and Co.
  • Acts as an electrolyte in the body: calcium is the “counterpart” of magnesium in the body, and ensures that the muscles can contract well, then magnesium provides relaxation.
  • Strengthens the heart: a balanced ratio of calcium and magnesium ensures that our heart beats evenly.
  • Stabilizes the acid-base balance: chronic hyperacidity can lead to the breakdown of bones and promote chronic inflammatory diseases. Calcium and other minerals can bind the acids.
  • Important in pregnancy and lactation: the calcium requirement of the unborn child can lead to bone loss in the mother. In addition, calcium helps reduce the risk of high blood pressure during pregnancy.
  • Relieves problems with premenstrual syndrome (PMS): Calcium and magnesium can improve mood swings and other symptoms.

In summary:

Calcium is one of the most important minerals for the body, but is ingested too little in the entire population. A deficiency can cause serious health problems. It is therefore taken by many people as a dietary supplement. But calcium is not equal to calcium, as shown by many bone density studies. In addition to dosage, calcium compound also includes the raw material. When you’re taking calcium supplements, it’s important to consider the type, amount and whether they may interact with other medications you take.

We’ll be happy to assist you in selecting the “right” product.

Photo: flickr.com/Christian Schuh

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