Suppression

Calcium

Category: Natural chemicals

Type

Voluntary

Introduction and description

Calcium is the chemical element with symbol Ca and atomic number 20. It is the fifth-most-abundant element by mass in the Earth's crust. Calcium is also the fifth-most-abundant dissolved ion in seawater by both molarity and mass [after sodium, chloride, magnesium, and sulfate]. And Calcium is the fifth-most-abundant element by mass in the human body.

There are two essential roles that calcium plays in our bodies:

Nervous system - The physical nervous system uses charge-carrying ions - sodium (Na+), potassium (K+), chloride (Cl-), and calcium (Ca2+).  In effect, it is key to the correct functioning of the nervous system.

Teeth and bones - A very large proportion of the body's calcium is used and found in the bones and teeth. As a major material used in mineralization of bones and teeth, calcium is the most abundant metal by mass in many animals not just us. Calcium, combined with phosphate to form hydroxylapatite, is the mineral portion of human and animal bones and teeth 

Diseases and illnesses associated with Calcium inbalance

All diseases and illnesses associated with calcium are due to either too much calcium or too little - an inbalance in supply and demand - the full description is provided in the overload section under the heading Calcium imbalance, which describes both deficiency and overdose both of which cause illness.

Sources of calcium

Dairy products - such as milk and cheese, are a well-known source of calcium and by far the highest source of any of the other categories. One cup of grated parmesan cheese for example, contains over 1000mg of calcium.  But, some people are allergic to dairy products and even more people, in particular those of non Indo-European descent, are lactose-intolerant, leaving them unable to consume non-fermented dairy products in quantities larger than about half a litre per serving, which means they have to  go elsewhere.

Seaweeds - such as kelp, wakame and hijiki

Nuts - like almonds, hazelnuts and pistachio

Alcohol and sugar

Fish – especially canned fish where the bones are left in such as anchovies, pilchards, sardines, salmon, tuna etc

Seeds – such as sesame seeds and sunflower seeds

Blackstrap molasses

Beans - especially soy beans and tofu

Figs – especially dried figs

Rhubarb - has a high calcium content, but may also contain varying amounts of oxalic acid that binds calcium and reduces its absorption

Quinoa

Green vegetables - such as okra; rutabaga; broccoli; dandelion leaves; chinese cabbage and kale. A number of other green vegetables, notably spinach, collard greens, chicory greens and chard have a high calcium content, but they may also contain varying amounts of oxalic acid that binds calcium and reduces its absorption. Perhaps one intriguing entry here is that stinging nettles blanched contain quite a lot of calcium and are used by Native American Indians.

Garlic  - also contains calcium but you need to eat rather a lot! [1 cup contains about 240mg]

Eggs  - contain relatively little compared to dairy products, but are a useful source [egg yolk has about 35mg], for example, an egg nog made of three egg yolks and milk is very high in calcium

Baked potatoes  - with the skin provide a small amount [20mg]

Wholegrain rice is also a moderately good source [i cup has about 43mg]

The calcium content of most foods can be found in the USDA National Nutrient Database


Recommended adequate intake by the IOM for calcium:

Age

Calcium (mg/day)

0–6 months

200

7–12 months

260

1–3 years

700

4–8 years

1000

9–18 years

1300

19–50 years

1000

51–70 years (male)

1000

51–70 years (female)

1200

71+ years

1200

Related observations