Calcium is an essential mineral for the human body that plays a critical role in many physiological processes. It is the most abundant mineral in the body, with about 99% of the body’s calcium stored in bones and teeth. Calcium is required for the proper functioning of several bodily systems, including skeletal, muscular, nervous, and cardiovascular systems.
It is important to ensure that the body is getting enough calcium through a balanced diet or supplements, especially for those who are at risk of calcium deficiency.
Function of Calcium
- Bone Health: Calcium is essential for the growth, development, and maintenance of strong bones and teeth. Bones act as a reservoir for calcium, releasing it into the bloodstream when needed for other bodily functions.
- Muscle Function: Calcium ions are involved in muscle contraction and relaxation, including the heart muscle, which pumps blood throughout the body.
- Nerve Function: Calcium ions play a crucial role in transmitting nerve impulses, regulating hormone secretion, and controlling enzyme activity.
- Blood Clotting: Calcium is essential for the formation of blood clots, which help stop bleeding after an injury.
Sources of Calcium
- Dairy Products: Milk, cheese, and yogurt are excellent sources of calcium.
- Leafy Green Vegetables: Dark, leafy greens such as kale, collard greens, and spinach are rich in calcium.
- Seafood: Sardines, salmon, and other types of fish that are eaten with their bones intact are good sources of calcium.
- Fortified Foods: Many foods, such as tofu, cereals, and orange juice, are fortified with calcium.
- Supplements: Calcium supplements are also available for those who are unable to get enough calcium from their diet.