Calcium, its functions and benefits. The uniqueness of coral calcium
- by BEZA FAMILIA
Author: Doctor of Biomedical Sciences, associate professor of the Lithuanian Sports University, dietitian Sandrija Čapkauskienė
Functions of calcium
Calcium is a mineral most commonly associated with healthy bones and teeth, although it also plays an important role in blood clotting, helps muscles contract, and regulates normal heart rhythm and nerve function, as well as the release of certain neurotransmitters, hormones (eg: growth hormone, insulin ). About 99% of the body's calcium is stored in the bones, and the remaining 1% is in the blood, muscles and other tissues.
In order to carry out these vital daily functions, the body works to maintain a constant level of calcium in the blood and tissues. If the level of calcium in the blood decreases, the parathyroid hormone (parathyroid hormone - PTH) signals the bones to release calcium into the blood. This hormone can also activate vitamin D to improve calcium absorption in the intestines. At the same time, PTH signals the kidneys to excrete less calcium in the urine. When the body has enough calcium, another hormone called calcitonin does the opposite: It lowers calcium levels in the blood, stopping calcium from being released from the bones and signaling the kidneys to remove more of it in the urine. Adequate calcium is essential for good health, and not just because it is a major component of our bones. Calcium also plays a vital role in keeping our organs and skeletal muscles working properly. The body gets the calcium it needs for basic functions by releasing calcium stored in the bones into the blood through bone remodeling, a process in which bones are constantly broken down and rebuilt.
The body gets the calcium it needs in two ways. One is by eating food or taking calcium supplements, and the other is by consuming calcium from the body. If a person does not eat enough calcium-rich foods, the body will begin to remove calcium from the bones. Ideally, the calcium "borrowed" from the bones will be restored later. However, this is not always the case, and it is not always possible to achieve this by consuming more calcium-rich foods.
Calcium is found in many foods, not just milk and milk products. Fruits, greens, beans, nuts and some starchy vegetables are good sources of calcium as well. Food sources of calcium:
- milk (cow, goat, sheep) and vegetable milk (almond, soy, rice),
- cheese, especially hard
- calcium-enriched orange juice,
- winter squash,
- edamame (young green soybeans), Tofu,
- canned sardines, salmon (with bones)
- leafy greens (mustard, turnips, cabbage, spinach)
Calcium is a large mineral and is not easily broken down in the gut. The amount of calcium on a food label is a measure of the calcium in the food, but not necessarily the amount that will be absorbed by the body. The amount that is actually absorbed and used by the body is called "calcium bioavailability". Some foods have higher calcium bioavailability than others. Interestingly, for example, the bioavailability of dairy products is about 30% of absorption, while plant foods such as greens contain less calcium, but the bioavailability of calcium is higher. However, the downside to some plant-based foods is that they contain natural substances sometimes called "anti-nutrients." Examples of anti-nutrients include oxalates and phytates, which bind to calcium and reduce its bioavailability. Spinach contains the most calcium of all leafy greens, but it is also high in oxalates, which reduces the bioavailability of calcium and the body can only use 5% of it. calcium. Calcium from other plants that do not contain these compounds, including broccoli, kale, and cabbage, has a similar bioavailability to milk, although the amount of calcium per serving is much lower. Dietary calcium absorption is slightly reduced by caffeine and phosphorus intake, and low blood vitamin D levels further inhibit intestinal calcium absorption.
The amount of calcium in the body starts to decrease from the age of 30, about 1 percent every year. Also, remember that the exact amount of calcium absorbed by the body will vary depending on your metabolism and other foods you eat at the same time. The amount of calcium in the blood is strictly regulated. Bones will release calcium into the blood if there is not enough calcium in the diet, even though there are no symptoms. A more serious lack of calcium, called hypocalcemia, occurs as a result of conditions such as kidney failure, gastrointestinal surgery such as a gastrectomy, or medications such as diuretics that interfere with calcium absorption. Gradual, progressive calcium deficiency can occur in people who do not get enough dietary calcium for a long time or who lose the ability to absorb calcium. The first early stage of bone loss is called osteopenia, and if left untreated, osteoporosis develops.
The main groups at risk of calcium deficiency:
Postmenopausal women . During menopause, the body's level of estrogen, a hormone that helps increase calcium absorption and retain the mineral in bones, decreases. Therefore, in the menopause and postmenopausal period, women face a large loss of calcium in the body - about 40 percent. in the spine and about 50 percent in the pelvis. Such changes greatly increase the risk of osteoporosis. Calcium loss is also associated with the aging process. Therefore, during menopause and postmenopause, calcium is a necessary component.
Patients with amenorrhea . This is a condition often seen in younger women with anorexia nervosa or very high-level athletes who stop menstruating early or have irregular cycles. Calcium intake is also essential for these young women.
Having a milk allergy or lactose intolerance . This condition occurs when the body cannot digest milk sugar (lactose) or milk proteins - casein or whey.
Certain nutrients and medications can increase the need for calcium because they decrease the absorption (absorption) of calcium in the intestines or increase the excretion of calcium in the urine. These include: corticosteroids (such as prednisone), excess sodium (salt) in food, phosphoric acid (such as dark-colored sodas), excess alcohol, and oxalates.
Prevention against calcium deficiency is necessary: adequate intake of calcium (in the form of food and supplements) ensures the absorption of this mineral, sufficient concentration of vitamin D in the blood or sufficient intake of it from food and in the form of supplements, restriction of alcohol, exposure to ultraviolet rays.
Too much calcium in the blood is called hypercalcemia. The upper limit for calcium is 2,500 mg per day from food and supplements. People over the age of 50 should not consume more than 2,000 mg of calcium per day, especially from supplements, as this may increase the risk of some diseases such as kidney stones, prostate cancer and constipation. Studies have shown that in some people, calcium can build up in the blood vessels in high doses over a long period of time and cause heart problems. Calcium is also a large mineral that can block the absorption of other minerals such as iron and zinc.
Experts recommend that the ideal way to get the nutrients needed for optimal functioning of the body is through properly selected food. However, when it comes to calcium intake, it may not be possible for some people to get their Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) from diet alone. I will remind you that the RPN for calcium is 1000 milligrams (mg) per day for adults, and up to 1200 mg per day for women over 50 and men over 70. If you're lactose intolerant, vegan, or simply don't like dairy, you may struggle to get enough calcium in your diet. Therefore, calcium supplements can help restore a possible calcium deficiency.
Calcium in supplements is found in combination with another substance, usually carbonate or citrate. Each has advantages and disadvantages. Calcium carbonate supplements are usually the best because they contain the highest amount of elemental calcium (about 40% by weight). Because calcium carbonate requires stomach acid for absorption, it is best to take this product with food. Most people tolerate calcium carbonate well, but some people complain of mild constipation or bloating. Calcium citrate supplements are more easily absorbed than calcium carbonate. They can be taken on an empty stomach. It is usually given to people with low stomach acid, irritable bowel syndrome, or other intestinal disorders. However, since calcium citrate only makes up 21 percent. calcium, you may need to take more tablets to meet your daily requirement.
Corals are an extremely suitable and useful source of calcium for our body. It may sound strange, because corals are not edible. However, the origin of coral calcium is fossil corals from the ocean off the coast of Jonagunis. These are aggregates of "young age" stony corals (more than a hundred thousand years old) that have fossilized while retaining the porous structure they had when they were alive. It is a unique structure of coral that does not contain any impurities (unlike older generations of coral found with fish bones, sea urchin needles and dead crustaceans). Because of their porous structure and huge surface area, fossilized corals have been shown to be excellent at absorbing not only bacteria, but also
heavy metals and pesticide residues. Test results show that fossil corals have a very high rate of removal (adsorption) of heavy metal ions such as cadmium, copper and lead, exceeding 99 percent. Also, fossil corals have been scientifically proven to absorb mold toxins. It is interesting and important that corals contain as many as 73 minerals, most of which are calcium. As much as 89 percent of the calcium carbonate extracted from corals is absorbed. It is friendly and natural calcium, similar in composition to the composition of human bones.