Everyone needs calcium. It is essential to our normal growth and development, the strength of our bones and teeth. It supports muscle and bone function, facilitates cell communication, and helps prevent disease.
Symptoms of calcium deficiency are numerous and can range from mild to severe:
- weak and brittle nails
- hair loss
- weight problems
- tooth decay
- delayed puberty
- muscle cramps
- memory loss
- muscle spasms
- numbness and tingling in the hands, feet and face
To prevent calcium deficiency, adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D need to be incorporated into your diet daily. Vitamin D is critical because it increases the rate of calcium absorption into your bloodstream. Be sure to include healthy, calcium-rich food choices like sardines, canned salmon, spinach, collard greens, broccoli, kale edamame, bok choy, figs, oranges, white beans, okra, and almonds. Get out in the sunlight for at least 20 minutes every day to increase your body's supply of Vitamin D.
It is difficult to consume a sufficient amount of calcium strictly from our diets, because it is constantly being depleted from our bodies. Many factors contribute to calcium depletion including our age, stress levels, hormonal imbalances, environmental pollutants, nutrient depleted farmlands and, most of all, a diet of highly refined processed foods. Talk with your doctor about whether or not supplements might help.
3 tips to help you overcome Calcium deficiency:
1. Men and women have different calcium needs. Both need calcium to help prevent osteoporosis. For women under 50 years old, the recommended amount is 1,000 milligrams. For men of all ages, the recommended amount is 800 mg. Men who consume too much calcium are at an increased risk for prostate cancer.
2. Calcium requirements vary with age. Growing children and teens need more calcium than young adults. Women's calcium requirements change dramatically as they age. Postmenopausal women experience an increased vulnerability to osteoporosis. For women over 50, the recommended Calcium requirement increases to 1,200 mg.
3. Taking Calcium in smaller more frequent doses makes for better absorption, uptake and retention. Calcium supplements are typically taken once a day, but studies have shown that a single large dose actually impairs the body's ability to absorb and use calcium.