Calcium is best known for it's role in building and maintaining healthy bones and teeth, but calcium alone is not enough prevent osteoporosis. Calcium works together with other minerals, such as magnesium, silicon, phosphorus, vitamin D, and boron, to maintain strong bones.
Calcium offers many health benefits beyond bones and teeth. It is critical to heart health because it lowers blood pressure and helps the heart muscle contract and relax. It helps fight food cravings, since low calcium levels make the body think that it is "starving" and needs to eat. It is also effective against PMS symptoms and colon cancer.
Calcium deficiency in children can lead to poor bone mineralization, bone deformity, and growth retardation. In adults, symptoms can include muscle spasms, numbness in the hands and feet, frequent bone fractures, and, in extreme cases, osteoporosis. A deficiency can result from insufficient calcium intake, poor calcium absorption, or excessive calcium loss through the urine. Smoking, caffeine consumption, or high sodium intake can increase the risk of calcium deficiency.
Too much calcium can inhibit the absorption of phosphorus, which is necessary for building strong bones. Consuming more than 2500 mg of calcium per day can lead to calcification of soft tissue.
|US Recommended Daily Allowance:||1200 mg|
Health Benefits of Calcium
|Blood Pressure||Helps reduce high blood pressure.|
|Bones||Known for its critical role in maintaining bone strength and health. Calcium loss leads to osteoporosis.|
|Colon||Prevents colon cancer, possibly by binding with cancer promoters in the colon and excreting them from the body.|
|Heart||Helps the heart muscle contract and relax.|
|Menstruation/PMS||Relives symptoms of PMS including mood swings, cramping, food cravings, and breast tenderness.|
|Nails||A deficiency can cause dry or brittle nails.|
|Sleep Cycle||Has a relaxing, calming effect on the body. A deficiency in calcium can cause restlessness which prevents sleep. Take calcium and magnesium in a 2:1 ratio, 45 minutes before bedtime.|
|Teeth and Gums||Calcium deficiency causes the jawbone to surrender calcium to the rest of the body, thereby causing teeth to loosen and gaps to form in gums. These gaps collect bacteria which leads to further tooth and gum disease.|
|Weight Loss||Helps regulate metabolism and makes it easier to maintain a healthy weight. Calcium deficiency signals the body that it is "starving."|
Food Sources of Calcium
|Dandelion Greens||187 mg||16%|
|Beet Leaves||117 mg||10%|
|Mustard Greens||103 mg||9%|
|Sweet Potatoes||76 mg||6%|
|Goji Berries/Wolfberries||72 mg||6%|
|Burdock Root||48.4 mg||4%||Has an equal balance between phosphorous and calcium, giving it a neutral pH.|
|Brazil Nuts||45.2 mg||4%|
|Brussels Sprouts||37 mg||3%|
|Figs||35 mg||3%||By volume, figs contain more calcium than most other foods.|
|Leafy Greens - General||N/A||N/A|