Calcium and Bone Health
Following a good diet is essential for bone formation and for avoiding numerous health issues. It is important to eat a variety of calcium-rich foods to avoid bone fractures, and osteoporosis, and to strengthen bones. Like other tissues, bones have a dynamic structure. As people become older, osteoporosis and bone density loss become severe health concerns.
In order for the bones to stay healthy in old age, it’s important to observe a balanced diet starting in childhood. Meals that contain calcium are the first thing that springs to mind when thinking about healthy bones. This is because when the body does not get enough calcium, it begins to utilize the calcium found in the bones to keep the calcium balance in the blood. Therefore, it is critical to prepare and eat meals that contain calcium to satisfy your body's calcium requirements and stores. In spite of this, having too much calcium can also cause problems for bones, which means that it is important to ensure a balanced intake of calcium.
Besides supporting the health of your bones, calcium is also essential for the efficient functioning of your organs and skeletal muscles. The body obtains the calcium it requires for fundamental processes by releasing calcium held in our bones into the blood via bone remodeling, which is the process by which bone is continually broken down and regenerated.
The Effects of Calcium Deficiency on Bone Structure
The major causes of calcium insufficiency include not eating enough foods which contain calcium, vitamin D, and/or magnesium. Having low calcium levels can reduce the mineral density in bones, thinning the bones and making them vulnerable to fractures and osteoporosis.
Besides calcium insufficiency, having excess amounts of calcium can also have undesirable consequences. When there is an overabundance of calcium in the blood, the excess calcium creates muscular pain and weakens your bones, and can also lead to issues like osteoporosis and fractures in the long term.
How Much Calcium is Too Much?
However, excessive calcium intake is also undesirable. Excessive calcium intake is defined as exceeding the recommended dietary amount and is mostly seen in unconscious supplement use.
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) values for calcium are:
- 19 to 30 years old: 1,000 mg/daily
- 31 to 50 years old: 1,000 mg/daily
- 51 to 70-year-old males: 1,000 mg/daily
- 51 to 70-year-old females: 1,200 mg/daily
If you are not getting enough calcium, you can make some changes in your lifestyle to improve your calcium consumption and maintain your bone health. For example:
- Drink plenty of water: Staying hydrated can help reduce blood calcium levels.
- Eat more foods rich in calcium: Dairy products and leafy greens are rich in calcium. If you don’t have any other specific health problems, then you can try adding more foods to your diet that are rich in calcium before turning to supplements.
- Quit Smoking: Smoking can hasten bone loss.
- Exercising, especially resistance training: Resistance exercise improves bone health and strength.
- Keep an eye out for calcium-raising medications: Certain drugs may increase calcium levels in your blood. If you have high calcium levels and are using any of these drugs, you should consult a healthcare professional.