The Ultimate Guide to Calcium

June 8, 2022 8 minutes


All living organisms need calcium to survive, including humans. As the most abundant mineral in the human body, calcium is essential for building and maintaining strong and healthy bones. Calcium is also necessary for brain-and-body communication and muscular function

Calcium naturally exists in several foods and is also routinely added to various food products. Calcium supplements are also widely available.

Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for Calcium

Adequate calcium intake is crucial across all age groups. RDAs vary according to biological sex and age, but the minimum amount for all groups starts at 1,000 mg daily. 

Here is a breakdown of the RDAs for adults and elderly individuals:

  • Adults aged 50 and below: 1,000 mg
  • Adults aged 51 -70 (male): 1,000 mg
  • Adults aged 51 -70 (female): 1,200 mg

A higher intake of calcium is recommended for individuals who are: 

  • In menopause or have already experienced menopause
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Experiencing a cessation of the menstrual cycle due to excessive exercise or anorexia nervosa

Why Is It Important to Monitor Your Calcium Intake?

A handful of national nutrition surveys indicate that most people fail to get the necessary calcium they need to build and maintain strong and healthy bones. 

This is of particular concern because there are no early-stage symptoms of low calcium intake. After all, your body will first try to restore its calcium levels by drawing on calcium found in your bones. As a result, there is an excess loss of calcium in the bones when there is insufficient calcium intake for an extended period of time. 

Calcium is necessary for strong bones and teeth, optimal muscle and nerve movements, and proper brain-body communication, making it critical to be mindful of your calcium intake. Thankfully, Vivoo offers you a way of checking on that in a fuss-free way!


Calcium in Urine - Evaluation of Calcium Intake with Urine

Urine calcium levels are a reflection of your dietary calcium intake. The adult human body stores about 1-1.5 kg of calcium that is mainly in the skeleton. A small percentage of your body’s calcium stores is found in extracellular fluid and can be used as ionized calcium, a process tightly regulated by hormones. 

Calcium found in the foods you eat is absorbed through the lining of your small intestine into the bloodstream. Once this calcium is in the bloodstream, your body uses it to build bones, among other functions. Your body then passes any excess calcium into the gastrointestinal and urinary system, where the calcium will be eliminated as feces and urine. In addition, a small percentage of this is also released via deposition in the bone and sweat.

It is expected that the urine samples retrieved over a 24-hour period from a healthy adult will contain between 50-250mg of calcium, meaning that 20% of dietary calcium intake is normally excreted through urine. If your urine contains anything less than this amount, it's highly possible that you are not consuming enough calcium through your diet. 

What do you measure with Vivoo?

The Vivoo Calcium Parameter measures the ratio of calcium/creatinine in urine because it's strongly correlated with urine calcium excretion over a twenty-four-hour period.

Creatinine is a byproduct of muscle metabolism and is normally released into the urine at a constant rate. Because of this, creatinine levels in urine are one way of assessing the concentration of your urine and are thus one useful approach for measuring random calcium levels in urine samples. 

calcium for health

Low Urine Calcium

Low urine calcium levels are when the calcium levels in your urine are lower than average. 

Reasons for low urinary calcium levels include:

  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Malabsorption of nutrients
  • Poor calcium intake through diet
  • Excessive use of laxatives

Long-term Negative Consequences of Low Urine Calcium 

Low urinary calcium levels might mean that you’re not getting enough calcium through your diet. There are no early-stage symptoms of low calcium intake because your body will first try to regulate its calcium levels by leaching on calcium found in bones. 

But insufficient calcium intake for an extended period of time can cause:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nail and skin problems
  • Severe PMS (premenstrual syndrome) - Low calcium or vitamin D levels may contribute to PMS symptoms during the second half of a woman’s menstrual cycle.
  • Dental problems -  Since calcium levels are low in the body, the body tries to balance it out by drawing on the calcium found in your bones and teeth.  As a result, this ultimately leads to dental issues.

When Should You Pay Extra Attention to Calcium Intake?

A higher intake of calcium can be recommended for the following persons:

  • Pregnant women (especially pregnant women in their third trimester)
  • Postmenopausal women
  • Breastfeeding women
  • Individuals with eating disorders like anorexia nervosa
  • Elderly men
calcium during weight control

Optimal Urine Calcium

Optimal urine calcium indicates that your urinary calcium level is normal. Note that there is no fixed value for a healthy urinary calcium level and that. Instead, there is a range of healthy urinary calcium levels (see above: Calcium in Urine - Evaluation of Calcium Intake with Urine). 

That said, other factors like a person’s age or certain medications can also affect how much calcium an individual needs daily. This means that urine calcium values considered normal for some may not be the case for others.

Importance of Staying at an Optimal Level

You need to be intentional about monitoring your calcium intake to achieve optimal wellness.

The benefits of meeting your daily calcium requirements include relief for PMS symptoms, as well as support for weight management. Of course, it will also promote the structure of your bones.

High Urine Calcium Levels

High urine calcium levels occur when the calcium levels in your urine are higher than expected. Your body will usually attempt to restore this calcium balance by storing the surplus amount of calcium in your bones or excreting it through your stool and/or urine. High urinary calcium levels are typically defined as above 300mg/day. 

Possible Causes of High Calcium in Urine

High urinary calcium levels can be a result from:

  • Excessive vitamin D intake
  • Diuretics
  • Excessive calcium intake through diet
calcium intake

Calcium and Healthy Diets

Your body cannot produce calcium on its own, which means that you need to get it from external sources, including food and supplements. 

Calcium is found in a variety of foods. Some of these foods include:

  • Dairy products (yogurt, cheese, and milk)
  • Fish with soft and edible bones (canned salmon, sardines)
  • Dark leafy greens (spinach, broccoli, collard greens, kale)
  • Calcium-fortified beverages, foods, and cereals (fruit juices, bran, raisins)
  • Fortified soymilk
  • Enriched waffles, bread, and grains
  • Seeds (chia seeds, sesame, poppy)

Vitamin D helps absorb calcium, so it’s necessary to ensure that your vitamin D intake is sufficient as well. Foods rich in vitamin D include egg yolks and salmon.  

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