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CALCIUM: Why We Need It, How to Get It, and How to Maintain It

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Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body. It is, in fact, in every bone. Why then is there such concern about not getting enough?

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body.  It is, in fact, in every bone.  Why then is there such concern about not getting enough?

In reality, nothing can happen in the body without calcium.  It’s not just important to body functioning, it’s indispensable.  It’s essential for our muscular and neuronal systems, our hormonal balances, and involved in our immune and oxidant functioning which protects us against microbes, toxins, and other foreign invasive bodies.  Its use and function in the body cannot be overstated.

When the body does not get enough calcium in the food we eat to maintain these daily cellular functions, it automatically takes it from our bones which act as the body’s calcium storage units. 

The problem is, calcium supplies in the body must maintain a balance; neither too much nor too little.  And a great number of things can affect that balance.

While most of us know that calcium can easily be obtained from such foods as milk, yogurt, cheese, almonds, spinach, soybean, and molasses, what many are unaware of is that a number of other nutrients such as vitamin A (found in carrots and sweet potatoes), B6 (in many breakfast cereals), C (in orange juice), iron (in beans), magnesium (in artichokes and bananas), manganese (in grains and pasta), phosphorus (in almonds and peanuts), lysine (in eggs), and silicone (in cabbage and olives) are also needed for calcium to efficiently do what it does.  They work in tandem.  And without the elements of this partnership, most calcium is just passed out of our bodies unabsorbed in our urine.

But, simply taking in enough calcium and co-nutrients isn’t the whole picture either.  A number of minerals and day-to-day lifestyle behaviors called “antagonists,” can neutralize and deplete calcium supplies just by their presence. 

Too much lead, cadmium, aluminum, magnesium, or iron, for example, can neutralize the calcium you intake. 

Lack of exercise, excessive stress, and too much saturated fats (junk food) in the diet can deplete what supplies you have. 

And if you drink coffee, alcohol, or smoke tobacco, the calcium supply intended to maintain daily cellular functioning is diverted to ridding your body of these harmful toxins, leaving less for normal maintenance. Thus it’s a balancing act that takes thoughtful planning and consideration.

Calcium deficiency can manifest in a number of ways. 

For example, in that calcium is involved in blood clotting and maintaining regular heart rhythm, heart palpitations, arm and leg numbness, and muscle cramps can be warning signs. 

Calciums role in nerve signal transmission and tranquilization means that nervousness and insomnia can be indications of an imbalance. 

And its involvement in the formation of bone and teeth means that tooth decay, osteoporosis, brittle nails, and even grey hair can point to an unhealthy drop in calcium.  A drop that can ultimately have a cascading effect that will then start to affect other functioning of the body.

One area of research currently drawing a great deal of attention from the scientific community is the relationship between calcium and Alzheimer’s disease

In a recent study of Alzheimer’s patients, many sufferers showed a marked level of depletion of a certain type of calcium in their system. 

Apparently, with a shortage of this particular type of calcium, there can be no growth of transmitter/sprout cells in the brain. Thus, slower synaptic response results. The good news, however, is that tests also show that once replenished, this neuroactivity resumes and Alzheimer patients’ memory begins to improve.  Thus, calcium deficiencies and imbalances are in many cases reparable and reversible if caught in time.

While calcium in the diet is a popular topic of discussion in these enlightened times (especially regarding women’s health), few sources make it known that a simple hair follicle test is available that can detect calcium abnormalities. 

For many years doctors relied on blood tests to indicate calcium imbalances, but it is now known that only severe depletions where bone density is already over 60% can be detected by this method--which is beyond the critical, reversible stage. Thus, since your hair keeps a detailed record of your body’s mineral levels, a small hair sample can tell you all you need to know.

References:

Mayo Clinic Studies

Goodhealth.org

images via:

thumbnail via arizonahomeopathic.org

skeletal image via anatomium.com

calcium via wikipedia.org

vegetables image via healthadvanced.com

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3 comments

Ron Siojo
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Posted on Nov 3, 2010
James R. Coffey
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Posted on Nov 2, 2010
Mary Beth Swayne
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Posted on Nov 2, 2010

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James R. Coffey

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